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  • Writer's pictureNavneet Kaur Kaur

Malana: The mystery touch-me-not village in Himachal.

At a height of 8,700 feet, this breathtakingly beautiful valley is known for the best and purest high-potency hashish aka Malana Cream in the world. Yes! In the world. But there’s more to the village than its cannabis plantation.

Once I entered the village after a 1 hour of hike from the Malana gate, we saw big sign boards saying not to touch the temple and not to enter certain areas of the village, or you’ll be fined 3500–5000/-

Yep! The people of Malana, aka Malanis, still practice the norms of untouchability. They consider themselves superior, some believe in themselves as descendants of the Alexander the Great Soldiers, and think they have pure Aryan genes. The Malani tribe, speaks a unique language called “Kanashi” also known as Malani, (outsiders are not allowed to speak Kanashi, it is beloved to be their sacred language, and that’s why it is not taught to anybody else)

Jamdagni Rishi, locally nicknamed the Jamlu Devta, the deity of Malana is an important figurehead there, and perhaps one year ago, he ordered through his spiritual messenger that all cafes & guesthouses should move outside the village, and that is why we cannot stay in the village but on the outskirts of it. He has also ordered to ban Non Vegetarian food, alcohol was already forbidden for years.

Malana is also one of the oldest democracies in the world, police don’t really intervene in local disputes. For all the disputes there’s a town council of 11 members and they govern under Jamdagni Rishi’s (their local deity) authority.

One very interesting thing I learned here was that in some cases villagers resolve the conflict by poisoning the lambs and the party that loses the lamb first, loses the conflict considering the deity selected a side to win (some people claimed that they don’t practice this way of justice now, and is a lost practice)

The society in Malana village is led by women, all the work is done by them be it, cleaning, cooking food, working in the field, harvesting, carrying wood from far, etc. Men are mostly seen sleeping or smoking hash/chillum. You’ll often witness women carry infants/children on their backs, wrapped in blankets or warm clothes. I was shocked to see girls as small as 5–6 years old, washing dishes and cleaning houses in open and harsh conditions. The village has only one school, and education is not given much importance. Another thing I got to know was that when the villagers harvest cannabis plants in October and the season of their business starts, you’ll see kids and adults rubbing the leaves to produce the hashish with their hands. That’s one of the dark truths of this village. Kids as small as 10–11 years are indulged in smoking chillums, while the whole village practice untouchability but when it comes to smoking chillums, the Malani kids and visitors (non-malanis) shares the same. Some days they might keep the different safi (the cloth filter below the chillum), somedays they share that too.

It’s an experience of a lifetime to witness this tribe and their cultures. The best way to reach Malana is through Jari by taking a private taxi/jeep from Kasol in Parvati Valley which is approximately 20 km away from Malana. The taxi will drop you off at the famous Malana Gate and then it’s just a 4 km hike to Malana from the gate.

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