Originating at Chorabari glacier near the ancient temple jyotirlinga of Kedarnath, is the tributary of Alaknanda, Mandakini River. Literally translating into, the calm or the unhurried one, the river flows gracefully past the temple to meet with Alaknanda River at Rudraprayag, a holy Panch Prayag location. The river accompanies you all along the NH 107which allows you to have a scenic driving experience on the hills. Further River Alaknanda flows towards Devprayag to meet Bhagirathi, forming the holiest of the holy river in India, Ganga. Utilised by the locals in many ways and supporting an ecosystem the river is worshipped everywhere it travels through.
This transcendental or other worldly river has found its mention in the holy Hindu religious works of Srimad Bhagavad which pushes the date of its origin to way back. In a more recent source, John Leyden’s 1810 work on the Malay Annals have mentioned that the Parmeswar or the one god and the founder of the sultanate of Malacca, used to carry a sword along with him called Chora sa Mandakini as a significant part of his royal official regalia. That sword’s origin has been traced back to India and dated 800 to 1,000 years old.
Mention in Ramayana
In Ramayana Ram describes the beauty of river Mandakini and its multi-coloured scenic beaches, exotic birds like geese, swans and deer adorned with flowery trees on the banks. He has also described several sages taking a holy dip in its water with herds of monkeys, elephants and other fauna collection here who make their way to the river to quench their thirst. This makes us come to the conclusion that Ram and Sita had enjoyed some memorable time here looking out at the vistas of Chitrakuta mountain. This lets us know that Mandakini river’s beauty has always attracted nature lovers and peace seekers.
About Chorabari Glacier
Situated in close proximity to the holy site of Kedarnath in the Garhwal region, Chorabari glacier is also known as Bamak glacier. Spread out over a distance of 15 sq. km. and 7 kms in length this glacier has always been a prime attraction destination for outdoor adventure enthusiasts and mountaineers. The glacier contains 2 snouts forming the main source for the Mandakini River as well as the famous high-altitude lake of Chorabari Tal. The trekking journey to the glacier is of the easiest gradient. To reach here the trekkers are required to start their trek from Sonprayag which is the base camp for the travel to this stunning glacier. On reaching the summit of the glacier you will be able to gaze at some of the most glorious untouched Himalayan beauty. You can even witness the glacier while on your way to the temple since it is not that far away from this sacred place of worship. This will be a journey of a lifetime where you will come across some of the most incredible landscapes here which is untouched and unmatched in its beauty to anywhere else.
Damage to Chorabari Lake
Chorabari lake is approximately 400 metres long and 200 metres wide and is situated almost at a distance of 2 kms upstream from the holy town of Kedarnath. The devastating and torrential rain back in 2013 had damaged a major part of the Chorabari glacier that had made the lake boundaries open up completely. The lake was displaced down to the temple that caused widespread damage to a number of villages located in its way downhill. This natural disaster was like a wake up call for the people and a sign that we should make environment conservation and climate change our key concern.
About Confluence of Mandakini
The place where the holy river of Mandakini merges with river Alaknanda is named after lord Shiva – Rudraprayag which is situated at a distance of 34 km from Srinagar. The entire region has a monumental history and is deemed for being a significant place of worship and spirituality in India. Blessed with bountiful and thriving natural beauty and replete with old temples Rudraprayag is a beautiful place to visit even if you are not a religious individual. The confluence point of the river remains thronged with devotees all year long looking to take a holy dip here to wipe away all their sins. Other important temples in Rudraprayag are – Jagdamba temple and Shiva temple.
Best Time to Visit Mandakini River
Summer months of April to June are the best and the safest time for you to visit the river since then the river flows calmly and peacefully. This is also the time when you can go on a Chardham Yatra and the Panch Prayag Yatra as well. Refrain from visiting the river during the monsoon months of late June and early August, since the river flow becomes a lot more fierce and the currents are also strong during this time which will put your life in danger.
Mandakini River Things to Do:
- White Water Rafting – The months of October to April is considered to be the best time to go on a fun and adrenaline pumping white water rafting activity. Due to the calm nature of this river parts of it are also highly kayakable with a number of 3,4, and 5 class of rapids. No such activity takes place during the monsoon months since the river gets swollen with devastating torrents.
- Winter Chardham at Ukhimath – This is one of the most popular spiritual destinations in Uttarakhand which is also home of the Omkareshwar temple which serves as the winter abode for the idol of baba kedar during winter time when the temple shuts down for darshan. You can offer your prayer to baba kedar here in winter as a part of the winter Char Dham Yatra when the crowd is minimal.
- Offbeat Peaceful Holiday at Khirsu – This scenic destination is located on an elevation of almost 1,700 metres above sea level and remains untouched from the prying hands of commercial tourism. The place is framed by Himalayas on all sides and you can experience a peaceful holiday experience away from the crowd. From here you can even explore places like – Kandoliya, Pauri Garhwal, Ulka Ghari etc.