Trip to Badrinath and Mana village | A close save

Badrinath is a very beautiful and important pilgrimage place which is located in the higher Himalayan

It is at an altitude of about 3500 m above sea level and falls in the Chamoli district of the state of Uttarakhand in India. 

Here is the auspicious and very beautiful temple of Badrivishal ji which is one of the most sacred religious places for the Hindus. Badrinath is one of the four Dhams

In earlier days visiting this place was not that easy. It used to take several days to reach the place and the roads were too narrow and were very dangerous.

My Journey to Badrinath and Mana

I am taking you back to the month of June, 2013. Summer vacations were on and I was thinking to go for an outstation trip. Though destination was not clear, just by that time I received a call from my close college friend Krishna Ballabh, he also expressed his willingness to have a trip to some place. After some discussion the destination was finalised as Haridwar in Uttarakhand. It was going to be a family trip. 

In my mind somewhere or the other there was a desire to go deeper into the Himalayas and therefore I told my friend to take along some warm clothes also. 

Himalayas (

That night we completed our packing work and next morning on 10th June 2013 I left in my car to pick my friend and his family. After picking them we left for Haridwar. 

The weather was quite hot and humid on that day. During the course of driving I discussed my idea to go deeper in the Himalayas. I told him that why not to go for Valley of Flowers. My friend was totally unaware of that so I gave him a description of the place from what I had seen in some of Youtube videos. Listening to me, he immediately agreed to my suggestion. 

Valley of Flowers (courtesy BBC)

We reached Haridwar at about 3:30 PM. After parking the car we left for the Maa Mansa Devi temple. The temple is located on a Hill which is the highest one in Haridwar. There is also facility for Trolly, however there was long waiting for the same as such we decided to travel on foot. 

Sun set in Himalayas (

It took us about an hour to reach the temple. After having darshan at the temple we started our journey back to Haridwar. It was too hot and humid and as such the journey was bit exhaustive. One more thing I would like to mention that there are lot of monkeys on the route to the temple so be bit careful with your belongings. 

From the hill we saw the beautiful view of the Haridwar town and of the Ganga river. You will be able to see that the course of Ganga river is not straight but it has several curves and turns. It can be seen coming from within the mountains (from Rishikesh side) and then arriving at Haridwar. Oh.. I am just falling in love by recalling those views 😇...

[You can also read my blog on My most unforgettable trip to Rishikesh ]

River Rafting in Rishikesh
River Rafting in Ganga in Rishikesh

After descending from the hill and reaching the car parking area I called my cousin brother Himanshu who resides in Rishikesh and informed him about my visit. I also informed him of our plan to go to Valley of Flowers. On this Himanshu told me that Valley of Flowers is at a distance of about 250 km from Rishikesh and it is at a remote area in Higher Himalayas. 

He further told that the road to Valley of Flowers goes through Rishikesh only and invited us to his home. He told that the next morning he will make all the arrangements for our onward travel to the destination. As such we left for Rishikesh from Haridwar and after 40-45 minutes of drive reached there.

After having dinner we had a discussion with Himanshu, chacha ji and chachi (uncle and aunty) also. Himanshu told that Valley of Flowers is located at great height in the dipper Himalayan area. 

He told that it would be advisable to take a SUV kind of vehicle with an experienced local driver. We agreed to his advise. Then suddenly there was a load shading and we went to the terrace. There I saw some lightning and thunder in the distant mountains. Suddenly there was dip in the temperature and in a while rain started. Then we came down and had a sound sleep.

Next morning we all were ready for our adventurous drive to the Himalayas. Heemanshu got arranged a Tata Sumo car for us with a driver. The name of driver was Bhat. Heemanshu told him to take care of all of us being a family member. 

Then we all left for the Valley of Flowers. The road was going parallel to the river Ganga which was on our right side. After some time the altitude started increasing and soon we were at a good height from where we had started our journey. 

The course of river Ganga was looking quite narrow in the valley. After about 2 hours of drive we took a break and had tea and maggi in a road side dhaba. The view from there was lovely. We could see the clouds rolling over the mountains and could feel the cool breeze flowing there.

Then we again started our journey. In between Bhat (our driver) was also sharing lots of stories about the place many of which was also based on his personal experiences. After some time we noticed that the road started going down the hills and we again could see river Ganga flowing side by side. 

I noticed that at many stretches the water level of river was too close to the roads. Bhat told me that during peak monsoon season water level of the river even comes to the level of road and then it becomes precarious to cross the road. He also told that during rain the road is prone to landslides. 

He further told that here no one take bath in the river as it is extremely dangerous to do so even for the trained swimmers. I was gazing at the river and felt as if it was calling me towards it and it was giving a feel of dizziness 😇. You can see the photo of one of the low lying areas which I took during my trip. 

Malakunthi (
                                                         (Low lying area at Malakunthi) 

After some time we reached a place called Srinagar. There I saw a dam on left side of the road. The project was under construction. Bhat told me that this dam is part of Alaknanda Hydro Power Project and once completed the dam will be able to generate upto 300 Megawatts of electricity. 

After going a bit further I noticed some construction work in the river itself. Bhat told me that there the work relating to shifting of temple is going up. The temple name is Dhari Devi temple and because it was falling in the submergence area of the dam and as such it was being shifted above.  

In between our journey we had lunch at a road side dhaba and then we proceeded further in our journey. Since time was short so we didn't took a halt at the sangam where the tributaries of Ganga were meeting each other. But we saw them from the car itself and the view was awesome. 

Here I would like to mention that it is at Devprayag where river Alaknanda meets Bhagirathi and thereafter the river which forms is called Ganga. The colour of water of river Alaknanda is bit muddy in appearance where as that of Bhagirathi is more cleaner and appears green in colour. 

We were moving side by side of river Alaknanda and as we were proceeding further, we could observe the change in weather condition also. Now it was no more that hot and humid but bit cooler one. 

Since it was getting late evening, our driver Bhat told it's better to take a night halt and we took a stay in a small restaurant cum guest house in Peepal Kothi. While we were having some tea-coffee at the restaurant there some people informed that the roads have been temporarily blocked by the authority due to accident of a tourist car carrying Sikh pilgrims. It was informed that the car had fallen in the deep gorge and there are news of casualty also. The news was heart wrenching. Bhat told that the roads are dangerous and a bit of negligence can prove fatal.   

                                                                  (way towards valley of flowers)

Here I would like to mention that just near Valley of Flowers there is famous and auspicious Hemkund Saheb Gurudwara. It is the highest Gurudwara in the world and is surrounded by high snow laden mountain peaks of Himalayas. This place remains covered with snow for most part of the year and opens for few months only. 

Next morning we started our journey at around 9 AM. The weather was good and sky was mostly clean with bright sun shine. The pollution level was very low there. 

Change in Plan 

After we moved for next 10-15 km, our driver Bhat told that for visiting Valley of Flower one will have to do a trekking of about 25 to 30 km on foot. First of all we will have to reach Govindghat and from there will have to do trekking of 10-12 km to reach Ghangharia. Then will have to do a night stay there. Then next morning one can visit Valley of Flower from there. 

He further told that the beauty of Valley of Flowers is immense, however trekking with little kids can be painful and can cause lot of harassment to them also. He told that just about 40 km from Ghangharia lies the famous and beautiful Badrinath temple. 

He told that in Badrinath Dham valley there are adequate properties for stay also. He told that after darshan of Badrinath ji temple if we want then again the trip of Valley of Flowers can be done. This plan appears to us a better one. We thought that in case we male members were willing to go for Valley of Flowers after visit to Badrinath then we will ask our wife to stay in Badrinath with kids and when we return back from Valley of Flowers we will pick them and then return to Rishikesh.   

As we started moving towards Badrinath I noticed that suddenly the road became more dangerous. On the right side of the road River Alaknanda was flowing with tremendous force with lot of noise. I observed that now the colour of water of river has become milky white whereas earlier it was bit muddy in colour. At several places I also noticed that the Alaknanda river was stepping down just like water flows down from stairs. It was so because the gradient was high. 


As we proceeded further I saw a snow laden mountain peak which was visible at quite a distance while seeing it through the valley. I asked about the same from Bhat and he told that it is Nar and Narayan mountain which is in Badrinath and it is there where we are going. On hearing this I was super exited. 

I asked Bhat that you told us to take warm clothes but still the weather is not that chill. Upon this Bhat told that by this evening you all will be in jackets and warm clothes and if it didn't happens then he will cut his moustache. Upon hearing this we all started to laugh. It was however a different thing that Bhat was having only very light moustache. 

Then as we start moving towards Badrinath, suddenly the road condition started deteriorating and within few minutes I noticed that our car was in a serpentine road which was going up swiftly. We could feel the temperature going down and the air getting thinner. 

Then I saw down in the valley from where river Alaknanda was flowing several white stone like masses. Bhat told me that those are snow. As we moved further these kind of snow masses became more apparent and bigger in sizes. Bhat told me that during winter season the entire area remains covered with 5-6 feet of snow all around. And the road remains closed till April month until the same is cleared by the Border Road Organisation team. 

As we were proceeding further towards Badrinath, the whole environment was changing fast. Now there were quite few trees on the mountains and we could see many more ice capped mountains. We also saw many water streams coming from the mountains and crossing through the road and falling into the valley and ultimately merging into the Alaknanda river. 

Then we saw a big water stream just flowing through the road. Bhat told us to go and enjoy its beauty. Then he stopped the car. We all rushed towards the water stream. Then I saw Bhat was coming up with two mineral water bottles in his hands and he told to deep them in the water stream which will act as a natural freezer and will make the water chilled inside the bottle. 

We stayed there for a while and enjoyed its natural beauty. I also took some photos and videos of that location. You can see the below video which I took during my visit. Guys check it and you will be mesmerised by its beauty. 👇😇


After spending some time there we left for Badrinath and reached there at around 3:30 pm. Then we had lunch in a canteen and then searched for a hotel. It was a small one but was neat and clean. I noticed that there was no fan in the room. It was but for obvious reasons that the place remains covered with snow for most part of the year. During winter the temperature even goes below -30 degree centigrade 🏔🌨❆ and most of the people residing in Badrinath and Mana village vacate the place and goes to lower altitude places.  

Himalayas (
   (view of Himalayas on way to Badrinath Dhaam)

At evening we had tea and snacks in the hotel and thereafter I and my friend Ballabh ji went outside to enjoy the beauty of the place. There were several pooja samagri stalls there. I got a distant view of beautiful and colourful Badrinath ji temple. It was at a hight and was on the other side of river Alaknanda. The nearby mountains were also covered with clouds 🌨. Then suddenly we witnessed drizzling and temperature going down as such we returned back to the hotel. 

At night after dinner we went inside thick blanket. Outside it was pitch dark and in between there were lightning and thunder sound.  I could also hear the little noise coming from the flow of Alaknanda river. It was totally a different kind of feel. The temperature was below 0 degree centigrade. Then I went into deep sleep. 

Himalayas in Badrinath (
                                            (View of Himalayas from Badrinath)

In the next morning we were all ready by 8 am. Then our driver Bhat came with entry tickets for visit to Badrinath ji temple which was about half km distance from our hotel. On our way we saw several pilgrims going towards the temple. Bhat told me that because of summer vacation time lots of people visit here and its a peak season. 

Before reaching Badrinath temple you will have to cross Alaknanda river through a bridge. Upon reaching the bridge I saw the amazing view of river Alaknanda. It was flowing with tremendous force and was making lot of noise. The colour of water was milky white. After a while we crossed the bridge and moved towards Badrinath temple

Towards Badrinath temple (
                           ( बद्रीनाथ जी के मंदिर की ओर  Towards Badrinath temple)

After crossing the bridge I saw that lots of people were there in visitors line. We also joined the same. It was a long line and it took around 2 hours for us to reach to the temple. But the amazing view of nature all around and the auspicious feeling of being there. We also had discussions with other visitors on line and several of them told that will be doing all 4 dham yatra and going to stay in the region for few more days. Then we all visited inside the temple and after darshan we returned back to the hotel. 

Badrinath temple (
                                                बद्रीनाथ जी का मंदिर  (Badrinath temple)

After we returned back to the hotel we had our lunch there and took some rest. Then our driver Bhat told us that just about 3 km from Badrinath lies the Mana village, which is the last Indian village before the border area with China. He further told that from Mana village river Saraswati originates. He told that there are lots of things to see there. By hearing this we were all very much excited and immediately were ready for our trip to Mana village

Journey from Badrinath to Mana village 

Then we boarded on the car and immediately left for Mana village. The terrain was bit different here. Earlier Alaknanda river was flowing very near to the road but as we moved towards Mana village it was going more far away from main road. There were more flat area here. See my video below which I recorded while going to Mana village. 

Mana village is at an altitude of about 3200-3300 m above sea level and as such there is low oxygen level. This could be easily felt as we moved towards Bhim pool by walking towards it. We also saw several native villagers of Mana village who were selling self made warm clothes and other handicrafts. 

Visit to Bhim Pool, Saraswati river and Vyas Pothi

After sometime we reached a place where we had tea and biscuit in a stall where it was mentioned India's last tea stall. Then in a while we reached to Bhim Pool which was actually a huge rock over Saraswati river. 

It is said that Pandavas in the last stage of their lives came to Mana village (about 5000 years ago) and in their way came this Saraswati river which Draupadi was unable to cross. 

Then Bhim who had strength of hundreds of elephants lifted a huge rock and placed it over River Saraswati and then Draupadi crossed the river. There after Pandavas left for Swargarohini. It is said that all of them dies on the way except Dharmaraj Yudhisthira who went to swarga lok from there. 

The view of River Saraswati is amazing. It emerges from within the rocks with great force. Its water is milky white in colour and the river makes lot of noise while coming out of the rocks. The noise of water there is so loud that it's difficult to even listen what a bystander says to you. Do check the below video which I recorded from Bhim Pool of River Saraswati 👇 


After visiting Vedavyas Cave (वेदव्यास गुफा) we started moving towards on a narrow path going towards Swargarohini (स्वर्गारोहिणी). After some time we were able to see a distant view of glacier which was in between the high mountains. 

Our driver Bhat told that it is the same glacier from where river Alaknanda originates and on its right side some where lies a big water fall named as Vasudhara falls (वसुधारा) where water falls from a great height. He further told that it is said that the water of the said fall don't fall over evil minded persons. 

We were very much eager to go further towards the Vasudhara Falls but the persons who were returning from the side of Swargarohini and Vasudhara Falls told us not to go there as we were already late (It was 4 pm somewhere) and moreover it would be dangerous to visit there without proper trekking gear. 

They further told that in the upper reaches there is accumulation of heavy cloud and in between there are snow falls also. They further told that boulders are also falling from the mountains due to slight rain and increase in wind speed. As such we decided to return back.    

Alaknanda river origin (
    अलकनंदा नदी का उदगम स्थान (origin of river Alaknanda)

After reaching to hotel in Badrinath I and my friend Ballavji were discussing for our next visit to Valley of Flowers on the next date i.e. on 14th June 2013. We thought to have our family stay in Badrinath only by the time we return back to them after covering Valley of Flowers. 

But by listening to this plan my wife was not at all ready. She told that she will not leave us to go alone as as the mountains and roads are dangerous and if we have come here together then we must remain together. After seeing this I and Ballavji finally decided to cancel our plan for visit to Valley of Flower and decided to directly return to Rishikesh the very next date. At that time we were not aware that this small insistence of my wife would prove to be a life saver for all of us.  


Next morning on 14.06.2013 we left Badrinath and started moving towards Rishikesh. By that time rain had started and we noticed that the volume of water in the Alaknanda river had started increasing up. Small small landslide were also happening in the roads leading to increase in traffic jams. At that time also lots of people/tourists were travelling towards Badrinath side. 

Our driver Bhat told that landslide is increasing so he will change the route and will go from side of Tehri. I asked why so! He told though the alternate route is bit lengthy but the mountains on that side are bit solid and comparatively less prone to landslide. He also told that if we go from tehri side then we all will also have the opportunity to see the Tehri Dam which is the highest dam in India and is something worth seeing. 

Here I would like to mention that Tehri Dam is build at the confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangana river and it is Asia's highest dam with a height of 855 feet. While going from the alternate route we saw lots of pine trees (चीड़ के पेड़) and as I recall there were views of many beautiful terrace agricultural fields. 

After reaching Tehri Dam we had lunch at a dhaba. I saw that the water level in the dam was quite low and I asked about the same from the dhaba owner and he told that prior to beginning of the monsoon season the dam authorities try to maintain low level of water by releasing the same continuously, it is so that once the monsoon starts the dam is in a ready condition to intake and retain large quantity of water into it. 

We stayed the night of 14th June in a small hotel in Nagrasu. The next morning I went to the balcony of the hotel room and saw the beautiful view of the clouds literally rolling over the Himalayan mountains. You can see the below video which I recorded from my mobile phone at that time. 

After having breakfast we left for Rishikesh at around 9 AM and reached Rishikesh within next 2-3 hours of drive. Then we reached at my cousin's house in Rishikesh and after meeting all of them and giving special thanks to Bhat we all left for Delhi at around 2 PM and finally reached Delhi at 7 pm. At the time we reached Delhi it was raining heavily. Thereafter I dropped my friend Ballavji and his family and then returned back to my home. 


Next we all were very tired the next day i.e. on 16th June 2013 we woke up bit late and I saw there were lots of missed calls on my phone including call of my father. By the time I could have understood anything I got a call from my father and upon talking to him he told me that Uttarakhand is stuck with biggest natural calamity and as per news reports lots of people had lost their lives due to the flash flood caused by cloud burst. I immediately switched on my Television and was taken aback by the visuals. 

I thereafter made a call to Himanshu in Rishikesh to know about the situation he told ki "bhaya aap log bach gaye, just ek din pahle pahar s utar aye, ab wahan sab kuch khatam ho gaya hai and is totally disconnected". He further told that he had never seen such kind of devastating flood in Uttarakhand earlier. 

Later from news channel updates we came to know that even on 17th June 2013 there was a very big calamity in Kedarnath valley which was caused due to burst of glacier fed lake in higher Himalayas nearby Kedarnath caused by heavy rain and cloud burst. Due to lake burst within a span of few minutes several lakh tonnes of water and debris came rushing towards the Kedar valley and it uprooted and swept away whatever came on its way except the ancient Kedarnath ji temple. 

                                            courtesy: ||Bharat||

The natural calamity with which Uttarakhand was hit was out of proportion causing tremendous loss of life and property. To meet with the exigency Indian Army was brought into action to carry out one of the biggest rescue operation which was termed as Operation Rahat.   

                                            courtesy: The Quint


It would not be wrong to say that beauty of Uttarakhand is amazing. It is a place where many of the important rivers of India originates including the most auspicious one the river Ganga. Badrinath and Mana village falls in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and is at an altitude of 3200 to 3500 meters above sea level. Badrinath is one of the most auspicious pilgrimage place for the Hindus and is one of the prime Dham. 

The place is blessed with natural beauty all around but we must not forget that it falls in very fragile zone of the Himalayas and as such too much pressure on the natural resources can prove dangerous. Before visiting there one should take special attention to the weather forecast and as far as possible should avoid travelling in rainy season as the area is prone to land slide. Further even if you are travelling there in peak summer season, don't forget to carry some warm clothes as especially in night the temperature drops down significantly.

After the aforesaid incident of calamity, Indian Govt has been constructing all weather roads for the char dham yatra and I hope once it is completed the travel would be much more easy and convenient. 

Thanks all my readers for being with me in my travel biography. I hope you must have liked it. 

[Disclaimer: The aforesaid views and experience are personal to the author and viewers and travellers are advised to check from concerned authority prior to travelling to the site. Further the author shall not be liable for any errors or omissions in the information. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, state, company or individual. We always respect the dignity and feelings of any religion, ethnic, individual, groups, company etc.]


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