Jari village is at a distance of 1.5 km from Malana Power House. You can take a taxi from Jari to Malana for 800 bucks.
I reached Jari at 8 in the morning. When I inquired in Jari how far Malana was, a local store owner told me that it was 12km from there and that I could easily walk it. I like walking and I like saving money, so naturally, I decided I wasn't going to take a taxi.
I met another traveller at the Jari village bus stop and we decided to go to Malana together. He had just seperated from his friends, who were on the same bus. They were sleeping and forgot to get down. But he was determined to go to Malana, and decided he'd meet them tomorrow.
We walked for the next 7kms towards Malana. I had a big backpack on me and it was tough to walk uphill while carrying it. My fellow traveller claimed it was a lesson for me to never bring big bags for traveling. All he had in his bag for clothes was a pair of tracks, a raincoat, a sweater and a spare t-shirt. This is one lesson that I certainly took to heart!
We met a group of people who were also going to Malana on our way. They had a Van and offered us a lift. I was a little hesitant at first to travel with four strangers, all men; but after interacting with them we decided it was safe enough. I still kept my bag closer to me, in case I ended up needing my pepper spray on the way. We reached the taxi stand in about half an hour and then started walking on our way to Malana which was another three kms down the road. This road first went downhill and then uphill. It was a fun journey spent talking to this fellow traveller of mine and the strangers who gave us a lift.
These strangers informed us about the customs of Malana that we had both already read about.
People in Malana are strict about their customs. A few years back, Malana met with harsh climatic changes. The natives felt that excess tourism was harming their culture. The tourists that travelled to Malana came there mainly with the purpose of acquiring Malana Cream, and did not respect the place. Commercialization has been a problem to the people in Himachal Pradesh for long now. The natives often complain of the trash that the tourists leave at Himachal. Malana was closed to travellers for a while and opened again with restrictions.
As soon as we reached Malana, we took a round around the main village. It is prohibited in Malana to click photographs. It is also prohibited to touch anything or anyone, so we cautiously went around the village. Something you'll notice as soon as you enter Malana, is that it is not a very clean village. It is not as developed as Kasol and Manikaran are. But it is a first hand experience of a real village life. Where kids play around in the area outside their houses and everyone seems carefree. The villagers will try and sell Malana Cream to you, and it is not considered illegal in the village. If someone is interested in buying, then a sample is put on a rock by the villager and picked up by the traveller, this is done to abide by the rule to not touch each other.
In Malana, there is only one resort in the village that provides rooms to travellers. It is at the entrance of the village and is called "Mountain View Resort", they also provide food over there. The cheapest rooms cost 600 bucks. A full plate of fried rice or pulao, enough for two people costs 180Rs and a cup of tea is sold at 40Rs.
We decided to stay in Malana for the night, because the night sky was too beautiful to leave and because we were really tired. We shared the room and the food. The room had wooden floors and wooden walls, it was a beautiful and warm room. Before settling in for the night, we spent our evening sitting at a roadside tapri (small store with tin roof) of sorts, right outside the main village. We sat with the owner (who was not a native of Malana) and shared cups of tea, a joint and bowls of stories, around the little fire they had set up.
They told us about the relationship between the people from Grahan village and Malana. Of how they both worshipped the same deity i.e. Jamblu Devta, and had a good camaraderie amongst their people. Of how it was believed that half of the year the diety lived in Malana and the other half in Grahan. It was a rare story of comradeship between communities, that we barely get to hear in the so called "New world".
We took a round of the whole village the next day, sat down at the corners of cliffs. The zig zag roads of Himachal Pradesh were visible through these cliffs. We left Malana at around 11 am for Kasol. After a 3km walk we reached the taxi stand, and that's when it started raining. The locals believed that it would snow the next day, but we had to leave for Kasol.
The taxi charges from Malana to Jari are 800 bucks. We had to convince one of the drivers to take us to Jari for 500 bucks. We reached Jari village in around 30 to 40minutes and then waited at the bus stop for the bus to Kasol.