Mana is an unassuming little village in Uttaranchal 4 km north of the pilgrim town of Badrinath. It is perched at a height of 3,219 meters on the banks of the river Saraswati (a tributary of the Alaknanda), which rises near the Mana Pass, 48 km to the north, and finally joins the sacred Ganges and Yamuna Rivers at Allahabad. Mana also happens to be the last human settlement en route to Tibet.
The name Mana is derived from 'Manibhadra Ashram' as it used to be known in the ancient times, in deference to its patron God, Manibhadra. It was in this little village that the sacred Indian texts of the Vedas and Puranas were supposedly compiled. The famous epic, the Mahabharata, is also believed to have been composed in one of Mana's caves, the Vyas Gufa, named after its author, the sage, Rishi Vyas. Mana is even supposed to have witnessed the passage to the Pandavas, the five main characters of the Mahabharata, on their way to Heaven, after they renounced their kingdom.
There are at least two traces of their passage through Mana, seen namely in the Bhim Pul and the Vasudhara waterfall. Bhima, the bravest of the five Pandava brothers is credited with having created the Bhim Pul or Bhima's Bridge, by kicking a big rock across the River Saraswati so that Draupadi, the wife of the five brothers, could get to the other side. Today, the sight of the River Saraswati dashing headlong into the Bhim Pul, then being tossed up in the air into a foaming spray, is indeed an awesome and heady experience.
As for the Vasudhara waterfall, it drops from an impressive height of about 125 meter over a hanging valley. Three kilometers away from Bhim Pul, the waterfall is said to be the source of the river Alaknanda, where it falls from Heaven, and the spot where the Pandavas bathed. There is a path leading directly from the village to its base, where it crosses a bridge then continue west along the side valley towards the Satopanth mountain.
The Alaknanda and Saraswati rivers meet just below Mana at Keshavprayag. This is also where the patron God Manibhadra is said to reside.
Close to Keshav Prayag is the temple of Mata Murti, mother of the celestial sages, Nar and Narayan. An annual fair is held here, two days after Ashtami during Navratri. In close proximity to this temple stands the Maninag mountain. It is believed that this used to shelter an enchanted pool, over which a Yaksha or demon exercised his power. This pool would recede each time someone came for water, and the Yaksha declared that any passerby unable to answer his questions would have his soul captured. Four of the Pandavas disappeared in this manner, one by one, when they went to fetch water for Draupadi. Yudhishtir, the fifth one, gave all the correct answers (which have been recorded in the Mahabharata) and resurrected his brothers.
On a huge rock on the right bank of the Saraswati is what is supposed to be the impression of Lord Vishnu's horse that was made to disappear when it disturbed the meditation of a Rishi.
The impressions of what are believed to be Lord Vishnu's footprints are at the entrance of the Machhukund gufa or cave, a little beyond Mana. It is where Lord Vishnu rushed to seek a Rishi's help in warding off a demon. The Rishi turned the demon into the stones that lie scattered outside the cave. The inhabitants of Mana, for superstitious reasons, refrain from using these stones for the construction of their houses
The landscape in and around Mana village is rugged and bare, with towering rock faces on all sides. The dwellings are simple: stone cottages, single or double storied, with mud plastering and slanting, slate-tiled roofs, which are built into the hillside. Some of the cottages have elaborately carved old wooden windows, appearing a trifle incongruous on the simple facades.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation is available at Badrinath four km away. Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam's Devlok Hotel, Gujarat Bhawan and a number of other low budget hotels are also there.
We offer excellent accommodation facilities in and around Mana.
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HOW TO REACH
BY AIR - The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant at Dehradun at a distance of 319 km.
BY RAIL - The nearest railhead is Rishikesh 301 km away.
BY ROAD - Mana is linked to Badrinath, which is four km away. Taxis are available from here, but trekking is a better way to enjoy the short journey.
Tourism-of-India.com provides complete information about tourism in Mana Tourism-of-India.com offers various tour packages to make you visit comfortable. You can pick the one that suits you most.
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|Budget Hotels||In Badrinath|
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