A TREK TO MALANA (The village of Taboos)

Parvati  River cottage, near Jari offers you a mesmerising stay and the much needed relaxation one needs on reaching Kasol. After spending a day in this beautiful cottage you can hike up to the nearest taxi stand and head straight to Narang, which is the starting point of the trek to the beautiful hamlet called Malana.               
 

 "Hush Hush!!! They have the best Hash in the world!!!"

This  tiny hamlet with just about 100 houses in the state of Himachal Pradesh is a magical green rimmed village that overlooks the Deotiba and Chandrakhani Peaks. The village of Malana is considered as one of the oldest democracies in the world. At an altitude of 9,938 feet above sea level lies this village also known as the village of Taboos.The Malanese locals consider all outsiders of the village are 'untouchable' since they regard  themselves as descendents of Alexander the Great and of the Aryan race. If one decides to visit this village of Taboos it is advisable to not touch the walls or belongings of any of the locals as you will have to pay a fine if you touch anything. 
Blessed by Lord Shiva, good quality cannabis plant grows in abundance here. For ages the use of cannabis has been an integral part of their lives, from medicine to footwears. But in the past they had never traded it, neither did they know the value of it. Their only trade with the outside world had been sheep wool. In the seventies came some white men and taught the villagers how to rub the cream – the cleaner and more potent hash suitable for an international market. Those foreigners drew them into business. Malana cream became an international brand. Hash production grew like a home industry for each household. 

DESCRIPTION

A remote primitive little village in the Himalayas, Malana was isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. Was never invaded or ruled by an external administration. The people there had been living in harmony with nature, an innocent pure existence with their own language, their own world, their own democracy. Their people’s republic has been governed by a village council with an upper house and a lower house like the bicameral assemblies of our parliament.
Malana village is connected to Kulu by three mountain passes. Once in the state of Himachal Pradesh it can be reached from Parvati valley across the Rashol Pass and Chanderkhani pass. The easiest way to reach Malana is from Jari by hiring a taxi since no public buses ply to the village of Malana, which is 23 km away.
On the ascent towards Malana village, one will be greeted by a valley which has more shades of green than you can imagine and a river flowing with all its might. The best time to visit Malana and witness the pleasing landscape is between March and October. Since winters are very severe.

EXPLORE

Located near the Kullu Valley, Malana offers mesmerising views of the Deo Tiba and Chandrakhani peaks. Unaffected by the modern civilization, Malana has its own lifestyle and social structure. People are strict in following their customs. Malana has been the subject of various documentaries including, Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village, and Malana- The Lost Identity.  
A dam project, known as the Malana Hydro Power Station, has played an important role in the development of the village. Travellers can visit the temple of Mahadev, which is located in proximity to Malana. Interacting with the natives is the best way to comprehend the culture and the customs they follow. Being in Malana, travellers can enjoy trekking and other similar activities. They are advised not to touch the belongings of the villagers as it is considered to be an offence. There are a few basic guesthouses in the village, which provide simple meals as well. There is a place for camping, but that is at a distance from the village. 
 Malana is more of a village for backpackers and travellers and less for tourists. Everyone must trek the last 4kms uphill to reach the village of Malana ,the trek is very easy as it has broad concrete steps all along the way. This trek is picturesque and covered with lush greenery.  There are few temples here like : The Jamdagni Rishi Temple, this sacred space is made of wood and stone and does not have any electricity. There is also the shrine of Renuka Devi which is located at the start of the village and has horns of animals in the temple complex. The horns are usually fixed on the facade of the temple with the bangles of the villagers signifying femininity. There is a festival celebrated in the village every year on the 15th of August which attracts a crowd from all around the valley.

CONCLUSION

When the whole world is looking for an answer to the shortcomings of the present form of democracy, we witness a beautiful model of self-governance, one of the world’s oldest forms of democracy for the people being obliterated by the rule of the majority. Malana is truly a very unique village and totally lays claim to the village of Taboos and has many restrictions on the people visiting the village.

HOW TO REACH

Malana is connected to the Kullu valley by three mountain passes. It can be reached from Parbati Valley, Manikaran after a 10-hour trek over the 3180-meter high Rashol Pass, or via Nagar over the 3600-meter high beautiful Chanderkhani Pass, which is a two-day trek. The easiest and shortest way to reach Malana is from the village Jari connected to Kullu valley. It is an easy and picturesque walk of six hours to Malana, which is only 12 km from here. Beautiful waterfalls and the Malana nallah stream are an incentive. The nearest Airport is at Buntar, 13 km away from Jari.