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Milam Valley
About Milam Valley

Milam valley (also known as Johar Valley or Gori Ganga valley) is a valley which is located in Uttarakhand, India, along the Gori Ganga river. The valley used to be a major trade route with Tibet. The best known villages in the valley are Munsiyari and Milam.Milam Glacier is about 28 km long, it is the biggest glacier of the Kumaun, Uttarakhand. It originates from the slope of Kohli and Trishuli peaks and is situated on the south facing slope of the main Himalayan range. Milam Village which is located near the glacier is one of the highest villages in the Himalayan range. Munsyari is the base for the trek route leading to Milam glacier.

The trek to the Milam Glacier is among the best of treks in this region, which takes you through some of the remotest areas with amazing views. Finally reaching the glacier, one is impressed by the splendor of the imposing Mt. Trishuli (7070m) and Hardeoli (7151m).

The Gori Ganga & Milam glacier valleys are the central valleys in the Kumaoun region. On its Eastern branch there is an excellent climbing area of Kalabaland glacier. The peak Chiring We (6559mts) rises from the Kalabaland glacier and was climbed only once in 1979 by the Indian team. Little to its south raises Suitilla (6373mts) which is a terrible and difficult goal. The Panch Chuli group rises in the southeastern valley of this section. It has five different peaks which are climbed with great difficulty, both from the East and the West. At the head of the Milam glacier there are the attractive peaks Hardeol (7151mts) and Trisuli (7074mts). Nanda Devi east has been climbed from the valley.

The major river valley in the central Kumaoun is the Goriganga. It Emerges from the huge Milam glacier and it is joined by Goankha gad at Milam village. Several small nalas join it in the west, as all of them drain the walls of the northern Nanda Devi sanctuary.

Out of them Lawan gad is a major nala. From the east the major river, Ralam gad joins it, little before Munsairy. Ahead, joined by the Madkani nala it flows down into plain. The main Gori valley mainly comprises of Kalabaland, Milam, Goankha, Yankchar, Sankalpa, Ralam, Balati and Pancha Chuli valleys and from Munsairy to Milam is known as Johar.

The eastern rim of the Milam valley comprises of Ikualari (6059mts), Kholi (6114mts), & another peak of 6160mts on top of Ikualari glacier (4730mts). Further south Nanda Gond (6315mts) and Nithal Thaur (6236mts), followed by Nanda Pal (6306mts) and at the last Shangas (5931mts), Kalganga Dhura (6215mts)and another peak of lesser height (5208mts).

The Himalayas are better for trekking rather then driving was a unanimous verdict. To trek the central valleys of Kumaoun along Milam and Gori Ganga one should reach Munsiary via Almorah, Kathgodam and Tejam, collecting Inner Line permits from Didihat which can also be collected at Munsiary itself.

The trek to Milam generally starts from a small village on the banks of River Gori Ganga which is about 18kms ahead of Munsiary, downhill crossing Jitu Ghat and Darkot village, leads to Lilam where one will encounter countless flies & I.T.B.P. (first check post on the way), the apparent inhabitants of here.

Milam Village

Milam is the last village situated in Johar valley of Pithoragarh district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. The river Gori Ganga originates from Milam Glacier and flows past the village to meet with Kali ganga at Jauljibi.


The trek to Milam village starts from Munsiyari a road head that can be reached from Pithoragarh or Almora. The trek passes through Rilkot, Lilam, Bilju, Bogudiar, Burfu and Martoli. Prominent peaks situated above the glacier are Nanda Ghoonti Trisuli, Hardeol etc. Some of the camping places above the glacier are Suraj kund, Nitwal dhar etc. Nandadevi East base camp can be reached through a side valley from Pacchu and Ghangar villages. The ideal trekking period is from May to October excluding monsoon months. However, as the inhabitants of the upper villages tend to move down the valley for the winter months trekkers may find that food and accommodation is not available especially after the festival of Diwali.

Historical trade with Tibet

Milam is on a route over high mountain passes (Kingribingri Dhura ,Jandi Dhura, and Unta Dhura) to Gyanima mandi in Tibet. The border is closed since the Sino-Indian War of 1962, and Milam is now a ghost village with very few inhabitants. Before the war, it used to be a trade center bustling with 500 families. As of now all trade with Tibet is stopped and the families have settled in Munsiyari and other places in the lower ranges. In summer months very few people go there and cultivate medicinal plants, high altitude Buckwheat and Jambhu. Tibetan merchants visited this place and traded in precious stones, Borax, salt and Pashmina. The inhabitants of Milam too travelled along with pack mules to Tibet. They took cotton clothes, rice, sugar, jaggery, etc. to sell in Tibetan markets. The famous pandit-explorers Nain Singh and Kishan Singh who mapped Tibet territory belong to this village.



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