Milam Glacier Trek
The Milam glacier is an ultimate offbeat trekking trail that would keep you thoroughly captivated by the scintillating vistas of the high Himalaya. The 28 kms, Milam glacier, is the longest glacier of the Kumaon Himalayas, has its origins from the slopes of Kohli and the Trishul peaks and is situated near the Milam Village, one of the highest Himalayan village. This exquisitely scenic trek meanders though narrow trails of rocks & moraines, gargling whitish waters of the Gori Ganga and the gusty Milam river, miles-upon-miles of lush alpine meadows, sleepy villages, countless high Himalayan snow-covered peaks in the backdrop of a deep blue sky.
The inhabitants of the Milam Valley - popularly known as the Johar valley - are Rajputs, and were mainly traders whose horse & yak-laden caravans used to enter Tibet from India through the high Himalayan passes. They used to be based out of Martoli and other scattered villages, which now, sadly bears a deserted look. After the Indo-China conflict in 1962, the flourishing trade dwindled as commerce was halted and the prosperous villages were gradually abandoned. But this exciting trail stayed back, linking the high Himalayan villages, enabling enthusiastic trekkers get a glimpse of the bye-gone past, which as if stood still in its pristine best.
Kathgodam – VijaypurArrive at Kathgodam at 6 am (by boarding the overnight train from Old Delhi Railway Station that departs at 10.40 pm). Our representative would receive and transfers you to our waiting vehicle. Feel the Himalayan breeze brushing across you face as we drive through Bhimtal, Bhowali, Bajnath and finally reaching Vijaypur in approximately 6 hours. Make yourself comfortable at our eco-resort set within a lush Pine forest amidst chirping birds all around. If you are lucky, get the first glimpse of the Panchachuli peaks as you soak yourself in the serene environment of our resort. As dusk set in, a campfire ignite your spirits as you contemplate your trek ahead. (210 kms, 6 hours drive)
Vijaypur – MunsiyariAfter a hearty breakfast, we start off towards Munsiyari. We drive through a forested road and soon pass by Chakori from where you get to see the shining Panchachuli peaks in crystal clear visibility. Thereafter, we continue till we stop by at Birthi for a quick tea break and if you are interested, take a short hike for a closer view of the Birthi Falls. There-on, as we start scaling up the Himalayan high road and the landscape too drastically changes from lush green to a barren landscape as we approach Kala Muni at a height of 2748 meters. Paying our obeisance at the Kali Temple at Kala Muni Top, we descend into the yawning Munsiyari Valley. We check into our resort as our eyes get automatically glued into the panoramic view of the Panchachuli and countless other peaks in the most glorious settings. (2290 Meters /7557 Feet)
Munsiyari – Darkot – LilamAfter a good night's rest we move out post our breakfast approaching Darkot, a drive of 15 kms. It is from from Darkot our trek starts. Slowly, we stretch our legs and start the downhill trail till we reach the milky Gori Ganga at Jimighat, thereafter it is a gradual climb through a lush forest till we reach the cute little village of Lilam. (1850 Meter / 6105 Feet) (15 kms Jeep, 5 km trek)
Lilam – BugdyarWe start off early after a quick breakfast. We follow the Gori Ganga river for about 3 kms to reach a gorge and up ahead witness the majestic confluence of the Ralam river and the Gori Ganga. Continuing a little ahead we are awed by the sight of the gusty Milam River falling into the Gori Ganga amidst of raging rapids. Continuing on our trail we cross over a bridge across the Milam river and gradually ascend across the narrow Milam gorge. Thereafter, we walk past a thick alpine forest of chestnuts, conifer and bamboos that opens up at Bugdyar. From now on it is miles-upon-miles of alpine meadows. As we approach, Bugdyar, we are greeted by tingling of bells and whistles - the shepherds with their flock of sheep in their hundreds. It truly is a treat to our eyes. On reaching Bugdyar, we soon set up our camp settle down in the most idyllic settings. (2350 Meters / 0000 Feet)
Bugdyar – RialkotWe wake up early in the mesmerizing settings and start off following a slightly uphill trail. We continue following the narrow valley path and trek ahead. Soon we pass by Mapang beyond which we could witness the vegetation gradually changing and making way for shrubs amidst a desolated rocky landscape. The narrow gorge gradually opens up to a broad river valley as we are hit by gusty winds. Soon, we reach by the deserted settlement of Rialkot where we set up camp and settle ourselves.
After some further trekking we reach ancient Martoli village that lay in a deserted state with only a few settlements. It was this very Martoli that used to be a hustle-bustle settlement before the 1962 Indo-China conflict. We witness many abandoned homes scattered across in dilapidated state, reminiscences of a bye-gone era. (3385 Meters /11170 Feet)
Rialkot – MilamWe start off from Rialkot along the true right of the Milam river and continue for about 4 kms, where the trail forks into two direction, one going upwards towards the Martoli village and further ahead towards the Nanda Devi Base camp while we stick to the the lower trail. Soon we cross the bridge over the river and move along the left side of valley. towards the that we follow the other that we follow we grow excited as today we'll reach the Milam Village. Continuing at a leisurely pace we trek ahead. Soon we are awed by the awesome views of the twin peaks of Nanda Devi as we finally set out foot into the Milam Village and relax in the awesome setting of our campsite.
Milam Village – Milam Glacier – Milam VillageToday is the ultimate day of our trek as we make our way to the Milam Glacier (3872 meters) a short trek of about 4 kms. We are thoroughly captivated by the awesome views all around and could also witness how as a small trickling stream the Milam river originates from the base of the glacier. We are thrilled, excited and elated as we spend a couple of hours in this prestine Himalayan heaven. Thereafter, we reluctantly head back to Milam Village and simply laze around.
Milam Village – RialkotPost breakfast we start moving back towards Riaklot. We passing by the same serene out-of-the-world landscape that we had witnessed while coming. Late afternoon we reach our camp site at Rialkot and as dusk sets in sit we lit up a bonfire to celebrate our success.
Rialkot – BugdyarWinding up our camp and having a warm breakfast, we head back and reach our campsite at Bugdyar late afternoon.
Bugdyar – LilamComing down by the meadows we pass by the serene thick forest and finally we reach Lilam.
Lilam – Darkot – Munsiyari – VijaypurToday is the last day of our trek as we move out of Lilam early, and reach Darkot by 11 am. Boarding our waiting vehicle we move out and make our way towards Munsiyari. Having our lunch at Munsiyari, we head back towards Vijaypur, reaching our eco-resort by late afternoon.
Vijaypur – KathgodamAfter a late heavy breakfast, we move back making our way to Kathgodam.