Mana village is the last village on the Indo – Tibetan border in the state of Uttaranchal. It is situated at a height at of 3,219 meters, 4 km nortwest from Badrinath.
The villagers of Mana are semi-nomads who escaped Tibet during the Chinese occupation.
Altough being more Tibetans than Indians they are strongly connected to Hindu culture and heritage. Every year the girls and women of the village make woolen shawls for the deity of Badrinarayan in Badrinath. The shawls are offered to the deity on the Temple closing ceremony at the beginning of the winter season.
Mana village is full of caves and it is believed that Vyasa composed his famous epic, the Mahabharata, in one of the caves. The rocks on the cave look like layers of paper and are said to represent Mahabharata. Inside the cave there is an idol of Vyasadev and a priest who recites Mahabharata.
Nearby is also another cave called Ganesh’s cave where it is said that Ganesh wrote down Mahabharata while Vyasa narrated the story.
It is believed that the village was visited by Pandavas on their way to Heaven, after renouncing their kingdom. At the end of the village there is a bridge called Bhima Pul (Bhima’s bridge) which Bhima is said to have made from a huge stone rock, so his brothers and Draupadi could cross the Sarasvati river safely.
After leaving Mana Pandava’s continued their journey through a meadow full of flowers before reaching the Vasudhara Falls. I would recommend this place to everyone with a quote: “Never lose an opportunity to see anything that is beautiful. It is God’s handwiting – a wayside sacrament.”
From Vasudhara the trail leads to the Lakshmivan, the place where Draupadi is believed to left her body. This dense forest is about 4 km from Vasudhara. A little bit further, at Chakratirtha, Arjuna gave up his body. Beyond Mana, on the way to Vasudhara falls and further you can see many caves and sadhus who live there during the year, without clothes, without food, eating only flour mixed with water and raw potatos. If food is unavailable, they live only on sun and air. For them, the mind is a power, and when controlled and directed, its force and subtlety are apparently unlimited.
After walking across the Chakratirtha meadow and over the steep rise of the glacier the other Pandavas also left this world and only Yudhishtira with his dog, who was Lord Dharma himself, reached Satopanth valley (4, 402 m) where he ascended to the Heaven at the foot of Svargarohan Mountain (7, 898 m).
Satopanth valley and the lake, surrounded by innumerable lotus flowers, are about 18 km from Mana village. Climbing up and down is very dangerous so the guide must be taken for this route. Being the part of the Devbhumi, Land of the Gods, this trail will capture your attention at every step and while surrounded with the unlimited beauty of nature you will realise that the most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched, but they can be only felt within the heart.