Mana - The Last Village of India


Mana (The last village of India) wonder what to call it?
A village, a lane, a locality or wonderland. The entire village is located at 13000 ft, has a population of 600 people, and can be covered by foot in a span of 2 hours.

We reached the gates of Mana at about 4 pm and decided not to waste time pitching a tent as we had very little daylight remaining. There are very little options to stay, ask anybody and they will point you to it.
Basic room – INR 800/- with hot (was just warm TBH) water facility

The owner doesn't stay there so at night there is nobody to help, check everything before the owner leaves for the day.

We stuffed our luggage in the room and set out to explore the village early. There are very few restaurants in the village area mostly serving only Maggi.

Only 1 restaurant serves food at night. It is better to order earlier as the restaurant makes limited quantity and may even close early. If you don't order there are chances that you might not get enough food or you might have to live on maggi again.

Dinner - INR 100/- Roti, sabji, rice and dal

The view from Mana

The view from Mana
The last shop
A little walk along the well made pavement takes you to the origin of the Saraswati River. It is here that we see a few shops, all of who claim to be the last shop of India. 

Spot the last shop

Not the only last shop though
Saraswati is born & Alaknanda greets it
The origin of the Saraswati river is a breath taking view. There is a natural bridge over the flowing water which gives an eye level view of the short water fall. You can trek down to the river side for a closer experience.
Birth of Saraswati River

Saraswati River flows

A small walk down to the river
The Saraswati River
As you travel beyond the last shops you will reach some very beautiful landscapes. There is a small trek you can do along the Alaknanda river. We were running short of daylight so we couldn't do it. But after a short walk behind a temple you will get the most breathtaking view of the Alaknanda river.

Alaknanda river flows on the other side of Mana

Alaknanda river flows on the other side of Mana
Saraswati river meets Alaknanda River

People & Lifestyle
We went around the town photographing the lanes and the houses. The people of Mana are used to travelers and are not too excited to see them. However they are friendly enough to guide you and return a smile back when you smile. Some ladies were not open to being photographed, but it was a friendly denial.

Almost every household has a small garden, where they grow their own vegetables. Most commonly grown are cabbage and potatoes. We had a chance to taste some organic veggies for dinner at the restaurant.
Garden growing vegetables

People managing their vegetable garden

Many of them own shops selling the basic needs like woolen products, grocery, stationery, etc. There are some repair and maintenance stores as well. People also rent out their roof tops for travelers to pitch a tent.

Baskets used to carry people

Shops of Mana 
We saw a lot of porters who carry people on their back with a specially designed chair. Probably this is one more common occupation of people here.

People live here for 6 months only, after which they have to move out due to extreme weather conditions. The houses are positioned very close to each other with narrow lanes and short doors, probably to stay away from the extreme chills as winter approaches.

The lanes
The most beautiful part of being in Mana is the pretty lanes of the village. We took a long walk around the town taking pictures and enjoying the way people live. The lanes also lead you to a foot over bridge to cross the river. If you are a street photographer this is something that you might not want to miss during the golden hours of natural lighting.

Lanes of Mana

lanes of Mana

Lanes of Mana

Indo -Tibet border
Once you enter Mana you will see an army base and a lot of soldiers moving across the town. From Mana there is a guarded road to the Tibetan border which is 45 kms away. During the winters when the villagers leave town, the army takes over and guards the borders.

The town overall gives a very positive vibe with happy people, pretty lanes, serene landscapes and the mighty mountains as a backdrop. We wished we had some more time to spend here. Ideally a full day should be good enough to absorb Mana fully. We were pretty sad that we had to leave the next morning, however one more visit to the place is what we promised ourselves while biding adieu!

Network: Only at certain points. No internet.

Power to charge phones: Yes. There is electricity in the village

Washroom facility: Available.

Next morning we left for Rishikesh

Read - Mana to Rishikesh - How To Get There

This was a part of our 5-day trip. Find itinerary here - Deoriatal - Chandrashila - Mana
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  1. Last village, first village, it doesn't matter to me because I would love to visit this area and check out the scenery. It looks totally amazing and would love to hike around here.

  2. Aren't these seasonal villages fascinating! And what an industrious bunch of people - I loved the idea of letting tourists pitch tents on the roof! I can imagine how cold it gets in winter, so no wonder they leave!

  3. I would pick this destination for a secluded and serene internet-free period, ideal for disconnection and walks along these beautiful lanes or by the river!

  4. The pictures showing the origin of the river Saraswati are so beautiful....pure, crystal clear, foaming and frothy waters. Must have been a fascinating experience.

  5. This place seems perfect to photograph with all the small lanes and lush veggie gardens. How interesting that people keep going back to this place to live for 6months before the weather conditions worsen. Except the views are certainly worth it!

  6. Mana portrays a very local village and it is very peaceful. It's nice that people here are friendly and used to seeing tourists or foreigners. The place itself is calm and relax, good to be somewhere away from the chaos of the city. Plus factor that there's not internet available so you'll appreciate more of local lifestyle.

  7. Wow this looks so incredibly beautiful. I have visited India twice now and would love to make my third trip visiting places like these. Your pictures are really beautiful!

  8. Mana looks like a beautiful area, especially for camping – such an intimate access to nature! Out of curiosity, what is it the last village in India for? As in before you reach the border? Or the last village left of it’s kind? Interested :)

    The Saraswati river definitely offers a stuning view – what a great nature walk down to the river. It’s like landscapes you would see in a fairytale. Good to know that some ladies were not open to being photographed – it’s always important to us to ask before we take people portraits, we don’t want to offend anyone or make them uncomfortable. But the photos you did get of women selling their goods make it look like it’s a village with a very authentic culture.

    THanks for the introduction to Mana!

  9. I have heard so much about the beauty of Mana Village and wish to visit it someday. Beautiful pictures and walking along the river would have been so amazing. Also, i have to find out what does Mana mean?