This Himalayan village created India’s first community-run Instagram account

India’s first community-run Instagram account

You may not have heard of Sarmoli – a small, sleepy hamlet in the Himalayan mountains– but thousands of Instagrammers have. Yes, it’s in this remote corner of the world that you’ll find India’s first community-run Instagram account, @voicesofmunsiari.

In Sarmoli, the lines between the rural and so-called urban way of life are blurred. The people of Munsiari participate in 20 km marathons, attend workshops on meditative yoga and bird watching, watch digital workshops by Wikipedia, and try their hand at international cuisine. Indeed, the local women cook pasta in handi on open fires, work as indomitable hiking guides, and are a spirited group who help to empower all the community members.

Internet connectivity here is limited, and so is the villager’s knowledge of English, but that does not deter them from sharing pictures and stories about their hometown which they care for deeply, via their very own Instagram account.

@voicesofmunsiari was launched as an experiment in 2016, the result of a collaboration between mountaineer Malika Virdi and renowned travel blogger Shivya Nath aimed at helping the locals share their stories with the world.

अपने दोस्त के सात घूमते हुय, नामिक से पहाड़ों की ये तस्वीर मैंने ली. – महेश While wandering around with my friend, I took this photo of the mountains from Namik. Photo by Mahesh. . . #munsiyari #voicesofmunsiari #uttarakhand #india #indiatravel #indiapictures #incredibleindia #uttarakhand_travel_diaries #igersuttarakhand #indiatravelgram #igrammingindia #travel #wanderlust #sarmoli #picturesindia #indiaclicks #himalayas #mountains #saveourplanet #beautifulindia #ecotravel #responsibletravel #indiaig #indiaincredible #storiesofindia #streetsofindia #india_gram #indiaphotosociety #indiashutterbugs #hippieinhills

A post shared by The People of Munsiari (@voicesofmunsiari) on

Calling the landscape their ‘sutradhar’ or narrator, Virdi says “the people here depend on these forests and mountains- they nourish and sustain them. And the younger people here needed to be given a sense of pride in belonging to this beautiful place. Aspirational migration to better places is acceptable, but not out of desperation, and the Instagram channel has brought a positive change in the mindset of the youngsters here.”

The Instagram account also serves to showcase the beauty of Sarmoli to potential travellers, who can visit the villagers, staying in their homestays and hiking in the hills with the guides; the resultant financial strength supports the entire community.

For more information, you can follow the Instagram account and browse the Voices of Munsiari website. And if you would like to contribute a smartphone to help the Himalayan storytellers better share their pictures and tales, email

Written by Anisha Kashwani

Featured image source: Voices of Munsiari 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Enter Captcha *