Malana village - A magical surprise in the Parvati valley of Himachal where it is mandatory to relax! The no government-man's land. Going back in time, Malana is said to be the first republic of India ruled over by none but their Devta(Deity), Jalmu Rishi. Malani's believe to have descended of the Aryans, when Emperor Akbar, after the Mughal Reign's end, stumbled upon Malana curing his ailment in the village, thereby granting freedom to the people of the village from tax and a tax-eating government. Now another story suggests Malana village was founded by the ancient Greek king, Alexander the great, giving way to it's title-Little Greece of Himachal.
Any which way, a place is as good as it's stories are, making Malana a pretty chiller village, a government free and a secluded society making unanimous decisions about the quality of living and producing internationally acclaimed hashish.
Some of the greatest things about Malana we were lucky enough to witness has made Malana a sure place to run away from the monotony of cities.
- The ever celebrating: If you're in luck, you might get to see the Malani's celebrating one of their festivals. All the grown-ups of the village gather around in a circle, rejoicing. Intoxicated with pure happiness, among other things, the grown-ups dance ad sing with live music and make you think about how their little clubs make a great tradition. The circle of celebration looks like a celebration of life, purely. All the people of the village dancing in synchronization, all smiling and cheering. The live version of HAKUNA MATATA!
- The Muzik Cafe: Owned by a city boy, set out to make his name in cafe hotel business, and doing it rather well. A short 5 minute trek up the village, will take you to a place with a view and rooms to stay with great food. The cafe is decorated with blue fairy lights, a dim interior even with a bright sun shining outside the window. If you're friendly enough, the owner (Gaurav) might show you his skills of juggling devil sticks. On entering the little cafe's first floor, you see people sitting very comfortably on mattresses. Artists sketching, Joints or Chillums being passed around to anyone and everyone in the cafe, taste buds activating smells, and the insides of the rooms illuminated by beautiful blue lights. If you visit in the peak of the winter season, you will be climbing ice on the ground floor to reach this little wonder of a cafe. Well there's your own mini Frozen!
- The unapologetic main occupation: The village of the green green stuff. There's got to be magic in the magic valley! The manufacturers and sellers of the internationally acclaimed Hashish are the proud Malani's. It is said, that the British Raj taught the Malani's the art of rubbing the cream for Malana Cream. The hashish can be sold to you by anyone from a kid 10 years of age to a 40 year old man. The little boys will be friendly, lead you to the good places in the village and engage in funny conversations. They seen to have perfected the art of treating your customers well! Make sure to keep your bargaining skills upto date, since they have long learnt the skills of making some extra dough.
- Mimosa Pudica (touch me not): Greatly like the plant touch me not, people and houses here cannot be touched unless you are willing to pay a fine for it. The Malani's have their own rules, without a government and they consider themselves to be superior to all the non-Malani's. According to some, Malani's consider only Brahmin's and Rajput's to their standards. All transactions with non-Malani's from purchasing and paying have to be done through an indirect link of the Earth or air between you! Money and things are thrown at each other or kept on the ground for the other to pick it up.
- Nature at its best: The long trek for Malana ends with a huge waterfall just before you enter the village. The waterfall is the water source for the entire village. Be sure to refresh yourself from the tiresome trek with this bounty of fresh water.
Although the village boasts of simple living and high thinking, in 2004, the village was adopted by a Delhi businessman, Aryan Sharma. The Malana Hydro Power station managed to bring Malana closer to the rest of the world through development, making a one day trek to a four hour long one. All the development also led to a raging fire in 2008 destroying a lot of Malani's sacred spots. These facts of urbanisation in a village away from all the problems of the world, threaten the maintenance of the independence of the Malani's. Our jobs as travellers being, to keep the village's freedom intact. Make sure to visit this delight before commercialization threatens the extra-ordinary village.