Remember that typical sketch of a village you used to make, back when you couldn’t even properly hold a crayon?
Yes, we’re talking about the ones which had rivers passing through the valleys, Sun peeking from behind the mountains and those ‘V’ shaped birds flying ( to God knows where) in a pattern.
5-stars for your imagination. But how about living all that in reality?
Can’t believe it? Welcome to “Malana”.
MALANA is a small ancient village, situated in the valleys of Parvati mountain range, in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, India.The most peculiar thing about this village is that even in 21st century, it is so isolated from the rest of the world that it’s almost like another world in itself. It is famous for its mysterious aura and one of the best Cannabis hashish cultivations in the world; typically known as ‘Malana Cream’.
In our opinion, it is “The perfect destination for all kinds of travelers”, as it has a wide array of experiences to offer :
Greenery is “Everywhere”
If Green stands for “Calm”, we bet the Monk inside you would take over as you first set foot and take a glance. The village flaunts some of the most exotic, soul-satiating landscapes you would ever witness. Surrounded by mountain ranges, beautiful Chir Pine & Deodar trees and the Malana River adding even more to the awakening picture; what more can an eye wish for?
There aren’t many staying options in Malana. So, the nearest and best staying option is Kasol. Kasol is a city that lies in the Kullu district and has adequate staying options and cafes. You can plan your trip to Malana from Kasol as the distance between the two is around 20 Kms (12.4 miles). The distance between Bhuntar airport (also known as Kullu airport) and Kasol is around 30 Kms (18.6 miles). You can easily get taxi for Kasol from Bhuntar airport.
Another great option for staying is Kullu, which has greater number of hotels and also has adventure sports like White Water rafting, Skiing, Heli skiing, Para gliding and Trekking. The distance between Kullu and Malana is around 45 kms (28 miles) and distance from Bhuntar airport to Kullu is 10.8 kms (6.7 miles). Try leaving your hotel for Malana at around 9 am to have a day-long splendid experience. But try to be back before it gets dark.
Culture and Tradition
People at Malana are very friendly and always willing to help an outsider or tourist. They would even pose for pictures with you. But then there’s a little thing that you need to be careful about. The culture of Malana is different from the rest of the world. Now for some of you, this might be a little arrogant, but the locals consider themselves superior to outsiders, and this is why you are not allowed to touch anything there. Not houses, Not temples, Not even people! You can’t hug or even shake hands with a local. A Namaste would suffice as a sign of gratitude. This is because foreigners are considered a sacrilege to their much preserved, ancient culture.
You have your Ferrari & the roads to run it, and they have their pride. Fair deal, right? So let’s not hurt their sentiments.
Another interesting thing about this place is that the people here, claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great, and the full-fledged application of the ancient Greek court system by these barely literate people, strengthens their claim.
Houses at Malana have sort of similar appearance, with not more than 3 floors per house. The ground floor is for Cattle and the upper floors are for residential purpose. This gives the village, a very symmetrical look.
The people at Malana are basically self-sustained and do not believe in depending on the outer world. This is why they feel they are superior to others. However, as Malana is mainly known for its world-class ‘Hashish’ cultivation, a small part of their income comes from selling little amounts of Hashish to tourists.
Their expertise in manufacturing the best product is another reason why they think they are superior to others, as they believe this is something they have been blessed upon by the God itself.
Adventure and ‘Chandrakhani Pass Trek’
Even reaching Malana is an adventure in itself. On your way, you get to absorb the most picturesque views that push you into a conundrum of thoughts. Most of the journey to Malana can be covered by local conveyance, but you will have to cover a certain small distance on foot; so take your snacks along and charge your camera batteries. The rocky foot-way leads directly to the village.
And for those who seek another feather in their cap regarding Trekking, the Chandrakhani trek is an experience they wouldn’t want to miss.
The Chandrakhani trek (12) is a 22-kms (13.67 miles) trek, starting from Naggar, passing via Ganachalani-Celanti-Dadru and leads to Manali. It is extremely challenging, and advisably not for a casual try-out. A trek from Malana (1.8 miles) joins with the Chandrakhani Pass. 12-days of adrenaline-inducing fragile, steep rocky tracks and a relatively higher altitude is a tough challenge even for the toughest ones. But a magnanimous view of sunrise and the beautiful peaks of Ghalpo, Papsura and the Great Himalayas, is an out-of-the-world kind of reward to keep them going.
WHEN TO VISIT
Casual travelers may visit Malana anytime except June-September, because the weather is pleasant throughout the year, but it rains between June and September; hence, more probability of landslides.
There’s a festival named “Malana Shaun” that is celebrated on 15th August, which collides with the Independence Day of India. Do visit the sacred Jamlu Devta temple at this time.
For those interested in trekking, it is advisable to visit in summers. In winters, the snow makes it difficult to ascend. Rain is also a big hindrance.
SOME USEFUL SAFETY TIPS
– Don’t touch their property, assets, or even people over there, without their permission. Don’t take photographs without their permission. They believe in preserving their culture in their own way.
– Always take a local guide with you to assist you and keep you informed about the ethics of this place.
– Try to visit this place in the brighter part of the day to avoid inconvenience regarding stay, conveyance etc.
– Try not to make transactions with the locals there. But if you really want to, make sure your guide is involved.
There’s so much this place has to offer, and we really want you to witness the unsung glory of it, with us. And even before you read the first word of this cluster of information, we planned a boutique tour exclusively for you because every person is an individual with different priorities and we respect that.
So, All you have to do is ‘Book with Us’ and let us know about your preferences.
Published by – Chinmay Sati