How I ended up having lunch with the Indian Army in last Indian Village

Mana village is the last Indian village on the border of Tibet in the district of Chamoli, Uttarakhand. Mana is a tiny beautiful hamlet on the border of China at the height of 3200 meters. The feeling of being in the last Indian Village itself is an exuberant feeling.

Delhi to Mana Village via Badrinath (Day 1)

I took a bus from Delhi on 4th May from Kashmiri Gate to Dehradun ISBT which left me around 4 AM in Dehradun. Then I got a bus to Joshimath at 6 AM and I was lucky that I got the last seat on the bus. Then the bus entered through some beautiful forests amidst mountains and after traveling continuously for 11 hours, I reached Joshimath.

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Joshimath

As I reached Joshimath, the majestic mountain peaks were in front of me. After waiting for half an hour, I got a shared cab to Badrinath. I made a Russian friend in the cab. This is what I love the most about traveling. He told me that he had been traveling in India for the last four months and has explored South and North-East India and now is completing all the chaar dhams in Uttarakhand. We talked about our mutual love for Ladakh and he told me about his journeys in North-Eastern parts of India. As soon as we reached Badrinath, he told me that he had a friend there who was waiting for him and left. Then, I after looking so many rooms found a cheap place to stay. Although, I got only a bed in the shared room as the manager of the guest house was too kind but it felt nice that someone was helping solo travelers.

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Badrinath

Mana village (Day 2)

The next morning, I started early after having breakfast towards Mana village. Mana village is 4 Km from Badrinath. Booking a taxi for 4 Km wasn’t in my budget so I started walking towards the village and after walking for around a Km, I got a lift. After reaching Mana, I felt lucky to come this far and experience this picturesque village.

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Last Indian village

I went to visit Bheem Pul cave and then started trekking towards Vasudhara waterfall. Everyone told me that this waterfall is so beautiful away from the civilization located amidst snow-capped mountains. I found a few people on the trek who showed me the path. The trail was rocky between those marvelous hills. I came to an open basin surrounded by mountain peaks. A broad rocky terrain and the sacred Saraswati river flowing beside soothed my soul. I loved the faint chill of the wind, the line of the hills, smell of the grass and the splashing water of the river. I reached the waterfall in two hours and the enchanting beauty of waterfall intrigued me. When I was out for this trek I hadn’t imagined back then that I could see such beauty with my naked eyes in such a short time.

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Bheem Pul cave. Aren’t they great posers?
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Trek to Vasudhara waterfall
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Swargarohini trek follows the same path.

Then I saw some guys coming to the waterfall and asked them where they are from. They told me that they were the army men and they came here once a week to hang out.

Suddenly, the sky was covered in white stormy clouds and temperature dropped down a lot. Mountain peaks were covered in fog and we were all shivering in the freezing weather. I had some chat with one of the men in the group who told me that they will go up-to Mana pass which is at a height of 21000 ft to guard the border. Then he offered me some spring rolls and tea and told me that the border of China is just a little away crossing the following mountain. Spring rolls were damn tasty. Now, when I think of those moments, I feel gratified. I was having lunch with the Indian Army at 11,000 ft. A traveler can’t dream more than this. After having lunch, I left for the Mana and two of them accompanied me. They told me some of the stories about their training period which were delightful to listen. And we reached Mana after an hour of the trek.

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Vasudhara waterfall

I explored some parts of the village and then I decided to leave for Badrinath. As soon as I was about to leave, the most magical thing happened. It started to snow. Can you believe it? In the month of May where people had no expectations and it snowed and I was blessed to witness it. I don’t know why but I started to walk from Mana to Badrinath under the snowfall. The road was deserted, there were hardly any people walking and there I was going like a lunatic in the chilled weather.

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That was a cold evening after the snowfall.

Interesting stories about the Waterfall and Bheem Pul cave

  • Local people believe that the drops of the water don’t fall on a person who has done evil things in his life while the drops fall on every other person. I don’t know if it’s true or not but these are the stories which are told to me by the local people.
  • Bheem Pul(a huge rock) is believed to be created by Bheem to make a way for Draupadi. It is believed that Bhima placed the rock in such a way that Draupadi could cross this river.

This is only one half of my journey. As it was getting too long I’ll be sharing another blog post soon in which I’ll be writing about “How I hitchhiked to Auli” and sharing all the necessary details, expenses and itinerary for this trip.

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You can get more information about Mana village from here.

Check out Avantika’s blog for more travel inspiration.

Also read: How I trekked solo from Kedarkantha Base Camp to Summit