A tiny village located around 9500 feet above the sea level, Malana is situated in the lap of the snow-capped peaks of the Parvati Valley. Known for the production of the best hashish in the world, Malana attracts a lot of tourists every year- some come for a retreat from the bustling city life, while some are here for the scenic views. Either way, let us take a look at some of the best-kept secrets of this ancient village.
The houses in this village are similar and usually multi-storeyed, with each floor designed with a distinct purpose. The ground floor is called the Khudang and serves as the cattle shed, where the firewood and fodder are kept. The first floor, called the Gaying, is used to store food and wool. This is where all the woollen garments are woven. The Pati or the top floor is the actual living quarters for the members of the home. The unique construction made of stone, timber and mud are worth observing- so take a Delhi to Manali taxi and explore!
The Peculiar Villagers
Another important thing that visitors need to remember is that they do not have permission to interact with the villagers or touch their possessions, without permission. In case of any contact, you will see them rushing for a bath. This is because they consider themselves to be superior to other human beings, as they are supposedly the descendants of Alexander the Great. The peculiar part is that even their court system today is reflective of the court system of Ancient Greece. The villagers have a sacred language called Kanashi, which also should not be spoken by any outsiders. On the whole, they consider the outside world to be untouchables and do not give them entry into their temples.
By Accesscrawl [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Taboos in Malana
The Malana village is one rooted in archaic systems, so the fact that there are many taboos in the village should come as no surprise. The villagers are not supposed to harm any trees, even by fixing nails on them- they are only permitted to carry dry twigs and branches from the forests and cannot cut down trees for timber. Hunting is also prohibited by the village council, except at some times of the year. If there are creatures to be killed owing to their attacks, the hunter is rewarded for the kill, but the fur is given to the Devta (deity) of Malana. The most peculiar rule in Malana is that police intervention within the village is not allowed, in most cases- everything is settled by the Village Council. If the person wants to talk to the police, then he will have to pay a fine of Rs. 1000 to the council.
By Anees Mohammed KP [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
From their beliefs and systems, it is evident that the Malana community is one that refuses to usher in the modern society in their village- this reflects in their educational system, too. There is a single school with one teacher for primary education, and a middle school with 4 teachers- however, there are only 13 students studying there. So far, only 2 students from the village have reached class 12.
How to Get there
You can either fly to Kullu or avail a Delhi to Shimla taxi as part of your extended Himachal Pradesh trip. From there, places like Manali, Kasol and others are easily accessible via taxi and buses.
By Jaypee [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons