This is a series of my two weeks of tryst with the Garhwal Himalayas:
Day 1&2 : Secunderabad to Delhi
Day 3: Delhi to Haridwar bus ride
Day 3: Meerut Road
Day 3: Har Ki pauri- Haridwar
Day 4: Impressions from Haridwar
Day 4: Through Rajaji national Park
Day 4: Devaprayag-Srinagar-Rudraprayag-Karnaprayag
Day 5: Pipalkoti-Joshimath-Badrinath
First let me state this very clearly. I travelled the whole of Garhwal, saw many snow peaks, travelled Valley of Flowers. But nothing was like Mana. Words fail to describe it. As I write this post, my heart is pining for it. To travel again to Mana and stay there to my heart's content.
Mana is the last village in the Indian territory beyond which lies Tibet.
Road to Mana from Badrinath
The view of the valley on the stretch between Badrinath and Mana is spell binding. Vast open space surrounded by iced cap mountains. Its a stretch of 3 kms. I decided to walk the stretch. I walked around half a km when I spotted a BRO truck. I waved and it stopped. The open truck had some workers in the back. I gleefully handed them my backpack and hopped onto the back of the truck. The feeling of travelling on an open truck amidst the mountains is second to none.
This pic is taken on the BRO ruck. You can see the winding road leading to Mana
Mana village holds a lot of mythological relevance and you can actually see traces of Mahabharata scattered across this tiny village. Here are some of them:
- Veda Vyas Gufa: This is where Veda Vyas resided and composed the whole of Mahabharat to Ganesha.
- Ganesha Gufa: This is where Lord Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata as dictated by Ved Vyas
- Bhim Pul: This is a massive rock that forms a bridge near the fountain of Saraswati river. Legend has it that when Pandavas were crossing the river, Draupadi found it difficult to follow. Bhim lifted a huge rock and placed it over to form a natural bridge.Entrance to Mana Village: Isnt it lovely?
The inhabitants of Mana are the last generations of Mongol tribes and look very cute, esp the kids. They stay for a period of six months at Mana and then in winters move down to Joshimath.
A Mana kid. He was too shy for a pose. Came out so good
Bhim Pul: As I mentioned the rock is suspended and clearly looks as if it has been fixed deliberately.
There is a Vasundhara waterfalls around 11 kms from Mana towards the mountains. I trekked along with a couple of other boys to the falls. You should attempt it if you want to witness some breathtaking scenery. Legend has it that the Pandavas took the same path while on their way to heavens. You would meet many sadhus taking the same path.
I met a group of Naga sadhus on the way. They did not allow me to take pictures, but I managed to talk to them. When I asked them how they survived such extreme cold clothless, they said they smeared 'Bhasmi', which has godly powers. The icy peaks do not provide wood or food. They survive by taking flour mixed with water and crushed raw potatoes. According to them, the idea of food is only to survive. Anything in excess is considered sin. They believed in frugal existence. I was amazed to see a small boy(around 7 yrs) among them.