It was in the evening of April 30, 2009 we took a drive from Badrinath to Mana Village. We had heard about Mana, known as the last village on Indian soil, beyond which lies Tibet. The famous trade route Mana Pass is 48 Kms ahead of this place which was closed in 1962.
After parking the car at the entry point of Mana, we started our trek though the village. This mysterious Himalayan valley is famous for its mythological relevance and it is surrounded by lots of myths & legends from the great epic Mahabharat. People believe that Veda Vyas composed Mahabharat, while living here.
Mana is situated 3118 Mtrs (10229 ft) above sea level, around 3 Km from the Holy city of Badrinath in Uttarkhand state of India. The local community (Bhutia tribe) is of Tibetan origin who fled to India during the Chinese invasion. The people live in stone laid huts plastered with mud and make their living by weaving woollen clothes and raising cattle. The scenery around this heavenly country side is breath-taking.
After a few minutes of walk, we reached a place called Bhim-Pul (Bhima’s Bridge) where one could cross the Saraswati river over a huge piece of rock in order to go to Vyas Gufa (Vyas Cave) and couple of other caves. The tributary river Saraswati joins Alaknanda River here and together they are known as Bhagirathi. Mysteriously, Saraswati river is hidden beyond this point and no one could trace it back to its origin. Bhagirathi river flows further down to join river Ganga at Devprayag.
According to the legend, when Pandavas took this path en route to heaven, Draupadi found it difficult to cross the river Saraswati and Bhima formed a bridge above it by throwing a huge piece of rock. It seems Draupadi met with her death not very far from here. Interestingly, if you look close at the rock formations, you could still see the shapes of two “kissing faces” and few other faces, as if the story was being retold.
It was one of the unforgettable moments from my life as a photographer. The road to heaven !! Believed to be the path used by Pandavas during their final journey to heaven. We could still see that narrow path with stone-laid structures on both sides. A place where time stands still…!
We were told about ‘Vasundhara Falls’ situated 3Km ahead of this place, but since it was getting dark we returned back with a hand-full of memories and a mind filled with peace .