Malana is an ancient solitary village in Himachal Pradesh in an isolated and charming plateau by the side of the Malana River. Known as Malana Nala, it lies in Parvati Valley which is a quaint corner away from rest of the world. One of the unique aspects of this destination is the strong culture and beliefs of the locals, who follow their rules with the utmost tenacity. According to them, Malana is the place where democracy is best followed with the well-organized parliamentary system, guided by their deity Jamlu Rishi. It is believed that Jamlu was worshipped during the pre-Aryan times. It has been the subject of various documentaries like Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village and Malana, A Lost Identity. Their court system resembles The Ancient Greek System as they believe themselves to be the followers of Alexander the Great.
Not only is the culture of Malana unifying, the team spirit of the place is reflected in its houses as well. Set in the verdant valleys of Himachal, the houses in Malana are either two or three-storied and have specific names and purpose assigned to them. Built out of stove and limber, the outer side of the house is built with wood. The ground floor or Khudang is for the safekeeping of the cattle and acts as a storage for firewood and fodder. The first-floor called Gaying is for storing eatables, wool and weaving woollen fabric. The top floor Pati and is the living quarter. Malana is most famous for its production of Hashish, which is hailed as the best in the region.
The people of Malana are the ancestors of Aryans. They got their independence during the Mughal reign when Akbar visited the place to cure his ailment. As it cured, he passed a statement that all the inhabitants of the valley were not required to pay taxes anymore.
Other evidence says that Malana was found by the remnants of Alexander The Great's Army. Today, the Malana Hydro Power Station has brought the valley out of the isolated world. Aryan Sharma, a Delhi-based businessman, adopted Malana in 2004. In January 2008, a fire breakout in Malana destroyed several cultural structures of ancient temples.
The people of Malana speak Kanshi. The unshattered faith of people in the democracy is all because of their Deva Jamblu. The entire village administration is under him followed by the village council. The 11 members of council are known as the delegates of Jamblu. There is no involvement of any outside authority hence it is called the Athens of Himalayas. The trade of Marijuana / Hashish in Malana, the Paravati Valley is at par and somewhat the only source of their living.
A festival called Fagli is celebrated in mid of February. It is the occasion when everybody takes a bath and a group of people wears nothing but cannabis leaves and devil masks. They dance around houses spreading cow dung which is believed to provide insulation from cold. The festival is a procession of Akbar. Another festival, Shaun is celebrated on 15 August.
Malan is a hill station like none other and consequently, the things that you can do here are amazingly unique too! Have a look at the best activities to pursue in Malana:-
1. Trading in Malana: In keeping with the traditions of Malana, you are not to touch the belongings of the people here without their permission! The Malanis have their own rule, and breaking them can incur a fine. All trade and transaction is done through a link via the earth or then surrounding air and hence, goods are exchanged either by throwing at the receiver or keeping them on the ground from where it can be picked up.
2. The Muzik Cafe: An example of impeccable Himachali hospitality, this serene cafe lies up a short trek. Snug rooms, dainty decorations and delicious food are the plus points of this place and if you're lucky the owner will show you his juggling skills too!
3. Trekking in Malana: A trip to Malana is incomplete without trekking through the thick forests here. The trek takes you through the splendid valley and ends in a cascade of scintillating water, which makes it totally worth it!
In order to reach Malana, you need to travel to Kasol first, from where you need to reach a place called Jari which lies around 21.9 kilometres away. From Jari you can hire a taxi to Malana which charges INR 800 to drop you in the heart of the village.