malana

In the valleys of Kullu and Manali below Chanderkhani Pass, situated at an altitude of 276 meters above sea level, is a little hub of a hundred houses. The kind of village that can be found all over the valleys. Yet there is something special about this cluster of stone roofs. This is Malana or, as the village is popularly known in the Kullu valley, the republic of Malana. The village, which consists of a 1000 tribals, has an immaculate system of self-governance with its own lower and higher court, President and Prime Minister. They are a unique tribe with unique customs who live in a world of self-created autonomy amidst the greater Himalayas and claim a Greek descent.

Malana has been the subject of various documentaries, including Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village, and Malana, A Lost Identity.The existing speakers of the autochthonous language Kanashi, the traditional language of the inhabitants of Malana, number approximately 1700. According to the 1961 census, the language speakers were then 563, but today the population of Malana is at least three times as large as 40 years ago.

According to the local legends, Jamlu rishi (sage) inhabited this place and made rules and regulations. The locals claim it to be one of the oldest democracies of the world with a well-organized parliamentary system, guided by their devta (deity) Jamlu rishi. Although Jamlu is currently identified with a sage from the Puranas, this is a relatively recent development. Jamlu is believed to have been worshipped in pre-Aryan times. Penelope Chetwood recounts a tale about an orthodox Brahmin priest, who visited Malana, and tried to educate the locals about the pedigree of their god, and what subsequently befell the hapless priest

Best Time To Visit

Due to its location in the Himalayan region, the village has extreme climate. Summers are the best months to visit the place as it is accessible during that time. The best time to go is early May to August. This is when the summer festival takes place.

Fairs & Festivals

Harlala mask dance festival is celebrated in the month of February-phalgun. It is an occasion when everyone takes a bath and a group of people wearing nothing but cannabis leaves and demon-like masks dance around the houses spreading cow dung, which provides insulation from the cold as well. Another interesting aspect of the festival is the procession for Emperor Akbar.

How To Reach

Malana is connected to the Kullu valley by three mountain passes. It can be reached from Parbati Valley, Manikaran after a 10-hour trek over the 3180-meter high Rashol Pass, or via Nagar over the 3600-meter high beautiful Chanderkhani Pass, which is a two-day trek. The easiest and shortest way to reach Malana is from the village Jari connected to Kullu valley. It is an easy and picturesque walk of six hours to Malana, which is only 12 km from here. Beautiful waterfalls and the Malana nallah stream are an incentive. The nearest Airport is at Buntar, 13 km away from Jari.