The state of Himachal Pradesh is located north of India. Within it sits an ancient village called Malana Village, or the Republic of Malana as the Kullu valley calls it. Although little is known about Malana Village as a tourist spot, much is known for its ‘hippiness’ and hash. Malana’s villagers have been growing cannabis plants in the Parvati Valley for a very long time as it contributes largely to their economic survival. The plants are known for their resistance to the harsh elements of nature. It is this characteristic that makes the Malana cream, where it is used, so special.
History of Malana Village
Malana is considered to be one of the oldest democracies in the world. It has its own administration and a village council makes most of its decisions. Till today, the local court system of Malana reflects an ancient Greek system, of which Malanis are said to be descendants of. Malana’s history dates back to the time when Jamdangni Rishi inhabited this place. Also known as Jamlu Rishi in the local dialect, he was very respected among the local villagers. Jamlu was also said to have laid down several rules and regulations across the village.
Malanis and their Practices
The residents of Malana speak a dialect called, Kanashi or Raksh. This is a mixture of Sanskrit and several Tibetan dialects. Strangely, travellers are forbidden from speaking this language as it is considered unique to its villagers and to be used by them only.
Malanis are friendly people. That said, outsiders are advised to be mindful and avoid physical contact with them. For instance, transactions should be left over the countertops to avoid physical contact. The slightest contact requires a purification ritual through the sacrificial act of slaughtering a lamb or cleansing oneself with a bath. Malanis consider themselves to be descendants of Alexander the Great and are therefore intent on maintaining a pure race. Due to this, they consider themselves to be superior than the rest and tend to regard non-Malanis as untouchable or inferior to them.
As a hash-abundant and hippy town, Malana isn’t all about the parties or the dirty business of drugs. People who visit its regions are usually mesmerised by the beauty of the Parvati Valley. There is a common trekking route that leads towards the village which can be accessed by first staying in Kasol, which is also a popular destination. The experience helps you connect with nature and leads you through picturesque landscapes and raving sights. Travellers have claimed to see birch forests, rhododendron bushes, green meadows and the snow-covered ranges within Dhauladhar. Once again, permission needs to be obtained from the villagers before engaging in this trek.
Temples and Architecture
Manala also has several ancient temples such as the wooden-carved Jamlu temple and the Rukmini temple. It should again be noted that the Jamlu Rishi temple or Jamdangni Rishi temple is prohibited from being touched and that touching it imposes a fine. Houses in Malana are two or three-storied high. The top floor houses a balcony, called Pati, which is reserved for living, while lower floors are used to store goods and cattle.
All in all, Malana is known to be a peaceful place to visit. Many locals who’ve visited the area have not run into any form of trouble at all. As long as you respect nature and keep within your limits, you should be rewarded with experiences good enough to fuel your memory for long.
Photo by RuckSackKruemel