At the end of the eastern Kumaon region, in the Pithoragarh district near Munsiyari, lies a group of five snow-capped Himalayan peaks known as Panchachuli. The name for this fantastic cluster of mountains I derived from the legendary Pandavas. "Five Chilis, cooking hearths), where they prepared their last meal before proceeding toward their heavenly abode.
These mountains are elevated at incredible heights, ranging from 6,334 metres to 6,904 metres, and form the watershed between the Gori and the Darmaganga valleys. Panchachuli is also located on the Gori Ganga-Lassar Yankti divide. The highest peak in this group is Panchachuli II, which was first scaled by an Indo-Tibetan Border Police expedition in 1972. These snowy peaks make for excellent mountain expeditions and the best months to scale these summits are April, May, September and October. The Panchachuli peaks are an important element of many a trekker's itineraries as well. There are two routes one can take to get to Panchachuli. One is the eastern approach via the Meola and Sona Glaciers, and the other is the western approach which trails the route through the Uttar Balati Glacier via the Balati Plateau. The five peaks of Panchachuli produce a haunting vision of the Him Khand and Yuli Rivers that are wonderfully rimmed with deodar forests and luxuriant alpine meadows. Nestled in the lap of Panchachuli's snow-capped peaks lies the Darma Valley, which is blessed with picturesque splendour.
Courtesy : UTDB