Himachal Pradesh has long enthralled adventure seekers, offbeat travelers, curious tourists and visitors. The state has multiple small escapes and getaways that can provide solace and excitement to travelers of all ages and backgrounds. But hidden beyond the many famous treks, valleys and routes lies Malana village, the magical and mythical place everyone’s curious about.
An old, quiet and secluded village in the North Eastern part of Kullu, Malana is a perfect hideaway from the world. The bustling Malana river flows on the side of the village sharing its name.
What makes Malana different?
Despite India being a land of different cultures and values, we share similar traditions and the same customs. But Malana exists in a universe by itself. It has a different and rigid social structure, social system and lifestyle that only the residents of Malana can comprehend and follow. Even the language of Malana is rare as the only speakers of the language are the residents of Malana.
Malana and her residents are devout followers of Lord Shiva.
Malana and its mysteries
Some claim that its one of the oldest democracies in the world. It certainly looks like an ancient place with its old houses and quiet lanes. The village makes its own laws and manages its affairs in a peculiar way.
The village council comprising of 11 residents often take decisions about disputes and fights. They invoke their deity Jamblu who they believe is the only god powerful enough to rule the village and its residents. The council usually has an oracle who is the person in which the spirit of Jamblu manifests. The spirit will use the person to inform the village of the decision taken by Jamblu.
From centuries the residents have been happy to abide by their decisions. Recently they asked the court of Kullu district to intervene. Nobody can say if it’s a sign of changing times or an unhappy break from tradition.
Malana residents speak Kanashi, a native dialect but are familiar with Hindi and English due to the high number of tourists and modern technology making their way into their reticent lives.
Malana and its people
You will also find that the houses share similar architectural styles and every floor has a specific purpose such as cattle shed, storage and living area.
The residents have unique physical features and attributes. That is explained by myths or legends of being related to Aryans or descendants of Alexander the Great. These local stories have no proof and are just folklore passed on from generation to generation.
The village and its reclusive residents pride themselves on being superior to visitors or anybody Non-Malani. Tourists, travelers and visitors are strictly prohibited from touching any structures or houses. They are also not allowed entry in temples and local houses. You won’t find any local willing to break bread with you or even eat something cooked by you.
Tourists and travelers can’t stay in the village overnight and are expected to find a lodging or homestay on the outskirts of the village.
Malana is also infamous for ‘Malana Cream’ reportedly one of the best hashish in the world and enjoyed by adventurous tourists globally. Since the age of the hippies, foreign tourists and local travelers visit the scenic village to smoke some quality drugs in the scenic valley. The government and local authorities have tried to discourage the cultivation of cannabis. The residents have ignored their plea thanks to the rich outcomes of the business.
Getting to Malana
The village can be accessed by road either by making Kasol your base or visiting from Kullu. Manali is a good 90 kms from Malana. Tourists will have to expect a walk and hike to reach the village from the main road.