The last Indian Village! Isn’t that sentence a fascination in itself? It is and you =actually fly with happiness when you see this board just 3 km ahead of Badrinath Dham. And man! those blue views at the entrance of the charismatic Mana village, what a charm !
Mana is a village in the district of Chamoli in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, located at an altitude of 3,200 meters. It is located on the northern 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 at a distance of about 3 km from the Hindu Pilgrimage Badrinath and the two places are culturally connected with each other.
Visiting this last inhabited Village; Chitkul at Indo-China border in Himachal is altogether different experience. The village has a mythical history along with the natural beauty.
The Mana Village lies at 3118 meters and can be reached either by the smooth motorable road or by a scenic walk along the clean Alaknanda River. It has about 180 households and a population of about 600. The people belong to Marchhas and Jads or Bhotias. During winter months, the entire populations comes down to lower places, as the area is covered under snow. Many coffee shops here tell people that their shop is the last coffee shop on the Indian border.
The village is crammed with cobblestone roads. The slanting roofed stone houses with wooden windows bask the village on either side of the road. Some houses too have a small kitchen garden around them.
The origin of habitats can be traced back to Mongolian tribes. Currently, it is occupied by the last generation of Bhotia community. The ladies of this community are masters in knitting and weaving while men run small shops and take tamed goats for grazing. They too are seen playing carom, cards etc.
The inhabitants of the Mana village are migratory and they move to nearby places like Joshimath in the months from November – April when the weather gets too hostile.
Okay! Here comes the real thing. Mr. Barfani Baba: He stays in this cave throughout the year, even when everyone else from the village migrates during extreme cold. He actually posed for the picture.
Mythical History of Mana Village
The Mana Village has a Mythical past and its traces can be found in the epic Mahabharata. It is believed that Pandavas crossed this village on their journey to heaven. While crossing the village; Bheem one of the strongest brothers of Pandavas laid a rock bridge; known as Bhim Shila to cross the River Saraswati. This is believed to be the place of origin of River Saraswati and there is a Goddess Saraswati Temple too.