India is a land of mountains and rivers, no doubt that there are many waterfalls and many of them compete with each other in their sheer beauty. Also, we have majestic waterfalls in almost every corner of country. There is no way that you can compare beauty of Chitrakote with beauty of Dudhsagar or of Jog falls with Nohkalikai or of Athirappilly with Hogenakkal. Its pointless to do so.
Each one has its own magic irrespective of its height or width or volume.
Since, a large part of India’s natural treasure lies in inaccessible regions, waterfalls also are among them. So even a waterfall with a small height can cheer you up when it comes right in front of you all of sudden while trekking in a remote region or biking in Himalayas. Birthi is one such falls, and it isn’t that small, it is actually one of the highest in Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. With rivers, mountains and glaciers at every nick and corner, you encounter a many big and small waterfalls on every ride and every trail or trek.
Birthi is not as popular or as touristy as Kempty in Mussoorie or Tiger falls near Chakrata but it is still more of a destination in itself. Birthi was in our itinerary when we were on a seven day road trip of bloggers hosted by Uttarakhand Tourism. But closure of some roads due to landslides and shortage of time didn’t let it materialise.
Visit to Birthi kept lingering in my mind though. So, when I planned to go to Darma valley by bike last year, I added a detour to Birthi in my route plan. A wise decision in hindsight as flash floods after a cloudburst didn’t let me go to Darma, thus I had Birthi as face-saver for the trip.
Birthi is off route and quite in interiors. But, as I said earlier it is destination in itself. It has amazing surroundings and good place to stay. This isn’t a place for weekend tourists of the north, but it is for those to take care to go deep inside the Himalayan state. Birth is just 33 kms before Munsiyari on the Thal-Munsiyari road.
As I mentioned earlier, my trip to Birthi was part of a longer trip to Uttarakhand. I covered famous Almora Dussehara and then went ahead to Birthi. It was mid-October last year.
I took Bageshwar-Kapkot road for Birthi, as I haven’t explored this route earlier. It was a perfect route for biking. But there are other routes to reach Birthi and that largely depends on from which place are you coming.
From Almora, Birthi is roughly 162 kilometres and distance-wise Bageshwar is almost midway, but not the travel-time wise, because Almora-Bageshwar stretch is quite good. Overall, it should take 8 hours of leisurely biking to reach Birthi from Almora, all depending on how often do you stop for food, rest and photography.
After leaving Almora, you head-on towards Binsar via Kasar Devi. Just before Binsar wildlife sanctuary, you turn left towards Bageshwar. Once you reach Kasar Devi, amazing views of Himalayan Peaks from Nanda Devi range run along till Bageshwar. It’s a picturesque route to Bageshwar through dense deodar, oak and pine forests. Roads are very good.
Bageshwar is at the confluence of Gomati and Saryu rivers. Gomati reaches here from Baijnath. From Bageshwar, you can go to Chaukori and Thal and then you can turn towards Munsiyari, or you can go to Kapkot and then to Tejam and Munsiyari. I took the Kapkot route. Until Kapkot, you move along Saryu river, coming downhill from its origin just at the base of Nanda Kot peak.
After Kapkot, leaving Saryu aside, I moved to Tejam. Tejam is where the two routes meet, one coming from Thal and another from Bageshwar, which I had taken. Thal is the place where Roads coming from Chaukori and Pithoragarh meet. So its maze of various routes, which meet at Tejam and then proceed towards Munsiyaru via Birthi falls.
From Tejam, Birthi falls is just 14 kms.
Just two kilometres before Birthi, when you reach Bala village you have the first glimpse of the falls- across the valley, a silver line in the middle of the green. This is also the place, where you start getting homestay options for the region. From here, you can also see the Khaliya Top region just above the falls on to the top. Behind this mountain is the Munsyari. A few minutes from Bala, crossing a bridge over a stream, and you are at Birthi. One immediately reaches on the bridge over the water flowing down from the falls. There are couple of small restaurants on other side of the bridge and adjacent to them is a pathway going uphill to base of the falls. Those who are on just a short, day visit to Birthi, take this route to go the falls and come back, have a refreshment and move on.
I had my booking for overnight stay at TRH KMVN. As of now KMVN is the only descent place to stay close to falls. A couple others are coming up and might be ready in next few years.
I quickly parked the bike, unpacked the luggage, checked in and without wasting any time, quickly set-off for the falls as I wanted to be up there before the sun sets. There is another trekking route just behind the KMVN guest house to go to the falls. I took that one. It was almost a 15-20 minutes trek to the falls through the woods. It was enjoyable hike and once the falls comes in full view, it becomes fascinating. Watching big falls that close is always breathtaking.
Located at an altitude of 2200 metres above sea level, this fall has a surge of 126 metres and is among the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in the Himalayan state. Actually, what we see from here is probably only the part of the fall, because you can’t actually see the source of the fall, which might be quite higher. There is a tough trek up to that source. You need another couple of days of stay to do that.
You can watch the video of the trek up to the falls on my channel.
Stayed for a good time up there. There is also a small tea shop at the view point close to the base of the falls. You can have tea, maggi and biscuits there. It gets pretty cold and dark quite quickly after the sun sets. There weren’t many tourists up there- two couples and a family. I came down along with the tea shop owner, who also called it a day, after all had left.
While coming down, I took the route to the bridge on the road, over the falls. I had some snacks at the restaurant there.
I came back to the falls twice again before leaving for Munsiyari in the morning. Once late in the evening to see how it looked in moonlight and then in morning to see it in rising sun. Its interesting to see that how the perspective changes with the time.
I left for Dharchula via Munsiyari in the morning, adding one more dot to the travel map.
Birthi isn’t on the main route, hence it gets only visitors who really want to see the falls. But it is still an excellent pit stop for those who travel to Munsiyari from Bageshwar or Chaukori. It is also a good day visit option for tourists coming to Munsiyari, or even for those staying at Chaukori.
A lot has already been covered earlier about the distances. Additionally, Pithoragarh is 95 kms from Birth, which can be at least three and half hours one way via Thal and Tejam. Chaukori is 63 kms via Thal and Tejam. It might also take a quarter more than two hours to cover the distance, still manageable for a day trip. Munsiyari is 33 kms and almost an hour away from Birthi, via Kalamuni top.
While going to Birthi, you are moving closer to peaks, so it will be quite cold in the nights. Be prepared for it. Going during monsoon will not be advisable. Although one might be able to see falls in lot larger and fierce proportion, but approach roads to Birthi won’t be welcoming and might be overflowing at various points.
Have you been to Birthi? Share your experiences with us in the comments sections below!
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Birthi is also geologically interesting, since it falls over a rift