The journey from Haridwar to Bardinarayan is special one. Leaving behind four lane wide roads, one passes through magical air and colourful mountains and beautiful greenery of evergreen trees, rivers, river confluences and curves everywhere.
After leaving behind the sacred town of Rishikesh first major destination is Devprayag, where the mythic and sacred rivers of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi forms a beautiful confluence. The water of Bhagirathi is greenish, while it is blue in the river Alaknanda. The road passes through two sides of this confluence and gives a panoramic view.
At the foot of the Indian Himalayas after an almost 12 hours of journey you are at Badrinath, leaving behind other confluences of rivers at Rudraprayag, Karanprayag and Nandprayag. In a day’s journey one passes through from 38 degree Celsius to 8 to 9 degree Celsius on reaching Badrinath.
Besides the Darshan of lord Badrinath one of the four dhams of Uttrakhand, there is a village named Mana just three kilometers away from the holy shrine of Badrinath. The village is in the district of Chamoli in Uttarakhand state, located at an altitude of 3,200 meters.
It is considered to be terminus of National Highway 58. Mana is the last village before the Mana Pass and is 24 kilometres from the border of India and Tibet. The village is inhabited by over 200 odd families with a population of 800 or so. The village is deserted, once the winter sets in and the inhabitants migrates down in the Himalayan foothills of town of Chamoli and around At the same time the temple of Lord Badrinath closes and winter location of lord is shifted to Joshimath and the location of Mana and around is covered with snow.
The village has mythological importance. There are many caves in and around the village. Notable among them is Ganesh cave and Vyas Cave. Around Mana places of interest include Vasudhara Falls, Satopanth Lake and Bhim Pul.
Near the Vyas cave, there is tea stall offering a variety of teas. The cold breeze and after a walk of some 500 meters in the high altitude of village Mana one would desire to sip a cup of tea.
The proud owner of a tea stall has displayed a big board and claims that it is last tea stall of India. He has a beautifully designed visiting card which displayed national flag in it. Visitor do not forget to have a selfie with the owner of shop.
Owner is in his mid-forties and had started the tea stall when he was just ten years old. The owner of the shop Chandra Singh Badwal with his brother is ready to answer queries of the eager visitors about life in Mana and especially during winter when entire village retire to foothills in and around Chamoli.
The Badrinath dham with river Alaknanda flowing opposite, snow clad mountains at the back of the temple and village Mana makes unique and unforgettable tour indeed.Mahendra Kothari is Honorary Correspondent with UdaipurTimes and is a travel enthusiast.