Inventing Destinations: Jana Water Falls, Himachal

There was a time when tourism began and ended in Manali. Tourists travelled to Rohtang Pass to see snow and do skiing. Rest of Kullu, as or more enchanting as Manali, remained untouched. As Manali became crowded and less charming, nearby villages quickly moved in to use the opportunity. They started promoting tourism in their own villages. One such village is Jana, near Naggar, the former capital of Kullu.

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindh Unny

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindhu Unny

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindhu Unny

The waterfalls was nothing much to admire at the time we visited Jana (in October). However, the drive to the village is picturesque, with deodar, pine, apple trees flanking the meandering road, though the roads were not in a good condition.

Jana has a couple of eateries that offer traditional Himachali thali, along with a few other basic items. The person who served helpfully told us to order one thali and share it between us. He knows many outsiders may not like the taste. It was tasty and good enough for two of us.

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindhu Unny

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindhu Unny

After lunch, we walked up the road, climbed along the mud trail to reach the top of the waterfalls. Some of the cafes have placed chairs in the water so that people can dine with their feet in the water.

Earlier, apart from a handful of trekkers who passed this way once in a while, nobody cared about this place. That was until 2002, when the local farmer Maniram discovered that his foreigner friends really enjoy his desi food. He saw the potential of developing it as a tourist destination. Soon other villagers followed.

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindhu Unny

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindhu Unny

Jana, Himachal (c) TravelWithaCouple Unny Radhakrishnan Bindhu Unny

One villager had this supposedly rare mountain goat with four horns. Since in India anything rare assumes divinity to which an average Indian can be easily trapped into, the smart owner is displaying the goat and charging Rs. 20/- for clicking its photos. In the spirit of supporting local economy, we did click this.

Today, it is believed that approximately 35,000 people visit this place annually, giving new income-generating opportunities for the villagers.

Jana Water Falls is about 33 km from Manali and is at an elevation of 9000 ft. One can get taxis from Manali and Kullu to Jana.

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