Malana is a small village at an altitude of around 9900 feet above sea level in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. It is famous for its history, taboos, and Hashish (Charas). The village is considered as ‘one of the oldest democracy’ in the world. It is among one of the most visited places by foreigners in Himachal Pradesh.

The easiest way to reach the village is from Jari, somewhere between Bhunter and Kasol. Mainly taxis operate between Jari and Malana but we also encountered a bus going to Malana while coming back.

Untouchability Still Prevails in Malana

The village is full of squalor. The villagers believe that they have pure Aryan genes and that they are descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers.There are signs on the houses stating not to touch the walls, otherwise, a fine of 3500 Rupees would be imposed.

A local who was distributing gyaan (intellect) on how outsiders are inferior to the people of the village disclosed that we are not even allowed to touch the villagers. “But you just shake hands with me”, I asked. “I will wash it later”, he replied.

A restaurant owner refused to let me in after asking “my caste” and told only “upper caste Hindus” can come inside and ordered me to move back. Meanwhile, some distinguished students of a reputed Indian National Law University rushed in and started to boast about them being upper-caste.

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One can enter the restaurant by portraying themselves as an upper-caste Hindu but foreigners don’t have this luxury. A Canadian lady, whom I met ahead of Kheerganga, described the village as “very discriminatory”. “They didn’t allow us to enter the restaurant. We have to put the money on the ground. They burnt the paper on which we were given food. Maybe because we are foreigners,” she said.

A local at the restaurant

A reporter from India Today Group was in the village, since the morning, in hope of some news bites. But heads of the village was not in the village and others were not ready to speak on camera.

Constitution Abolished Untouchability 67 Years Ago

Untouchability prevails in Malana even after 67 years of adoption of the Constitution which abolished untouchability. If something happens, the villagers don’t go to the police. They have their own “government and judicial system”.

The village is being ruled by customary laws. The “Devta” (God) is the supreme command of the village. But how the Devta commands? It commands through the head of the village.

Malana is World Famous for Cannabis

Malana is world-famous for the cultivation of Cannabis, (Hashish). It can be seen hanging on almost every house in the village. Every villager knows its cost in the international market and “earns in lakhs”.

Hashish of Malana is famous as Malana cream and considered as one of the best. Thousands of Israelis come to Malana, Kasol every year to “refresh” after their mandatory duty in the army.

It is illegal

Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, it is illegal for a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic.

Malana is a stigma on Himachal Pradesh and most importantly it dashes India’s stand on equality.

Kheerganga & Beyond: A Trek in Search of Adventure