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The prefix “Mand” means calm and unhurried in Sanskrit. The river Mandakini, thus signifies, “she who flows calmly”. The Mandakini valley is U-shaped. The Mandakini valley has been described as one of the transcendental rivers mentioned in the holy religions and work Srimad Bhagavatam. The Mandakini is a manageable low volume river which flows from October to April and can be unpredictable in the monsoon season (June – September) when all the rivers become swollen torrents.
Mandakini valley leads to Kedarnath temple, one of the 12 most sacred shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Kedarnath temple stands facing the Mandakini valley. At Chirpatya, there is a ridge dividing the Mandakini valley and Bhilganga River.
Mandakini is a branch of the Alaknanda River. Mandakini originates from the Chorabari Glacier near Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, India. Mandakini River is fed by Vaskiganga River at Sonprayag. Later on Mandakini joins Alaknanda at Rudraprayag. Alaknanda then proceeds further towards Devaprayag where it merges with Bhagirathi River to form the holy river Ganges. Mandakini River flows along NH-107 in Rudraprayag district and turns violent during monsoon season often destroying various parts of national highway and many adjoining villages. The river has caused the 2013 North India floods. Most of the new established buildings and particularly the sangam (confluence) region was harshly smashed in the 2013 Uttarakhand floods. There was a footbridge over the River Mandakini, along with a road bridge nearly six km downstream at Raitoli which also got washed away completely. The design of the sangam has changed considerably. The main road along the popular Mandakini valley, leads to Kedarnath, and this also got damaged during the floods.
This region is known as shnan ghat. It is a belief that taking bath at this shnan ghat will help a person to clean themselves spiritually. Hence forth many tourists visit this shnan ghat due to this reason also.
The trip to Mandakini valley is a trip to the traveler who is not satisfied on one activity and would like to try their hands on different activities which allows them to experience the Himalayas in an entirely different sort of way. During the trip, one is exposed to trek, raft, and also cycle through the spectacular Mandakini valley.
The Mandakini valley, a real paradise for trekkers is attracted by many natural lovers and adventurous tourists. The snow covered trekking terrains poses mild to very tough challenges to trekkers. Experienced trekkers get a really competitive chance to challenge the great and outstanding trekking experiences in these mountain ranges. Safari through the plain valleys in the banks of the river is also very memorable. There are some trekking institutes which provide necessary support for the naïve trekkers. The ideal time to trek is from June to September as the regions remains unaffected by the monsoon. Kayaking and rafting can be done in the Mandakini River which has lots of class 3 rapids and a few class 4 and class 5 rapids.
The other tourist spots near Mandakini valley which can be visited are the Rudranath temple, Chamundi Devi temple, Koteshwar, Shree Tungeshwar Mahadev Ji Phalasi (Near Chopta), Kartik Swami and also Basukedar.
How to Reach
Jolly Grant Airport nearby Dehradun is the nearest airport. It is about 183 km away from Rudraprayag.
The closest railway station is at Rishikesh. But Rishikesh is a very small railway station which is not connected by super-fast trains. The Haridwar railway station, which is24 km far from Rishikesh, has different train connections to few major cities of the country and is so the popular railhead for Mandakini valley.
Rudraprayag is situated onnational highway NH58which further connects Delhi withmana pass and Badrinath in the state Uttarakhand nearby the Indo-Tibet border. Nearly all buses and vehicles that carry travelers from New Delhi to Badrinath via Haridwar & Rishikesh during the peak tourist season of extreme summer month passes all through Rudraprayag to reach Joshimath and then further north. Rishikesh is called the main starting point of road journey to Rudraprayag and regular buses operate from Rishikesh bus stand to Rudraprayag. The road distance from Rishikesh to Rudraprayag is 141 km (88 mi) via Srinagar and Devprayag.