With centuries of history behind it, Malana certainly seemed intriguing. The initial look of the village hadn’t been inspiring at all, every home looked to be built in concrete and it felt like a dirty village. I have documented these experiences and more in Winds of change in Malana. I was quite keen on attending Malana Fagli that is held in February but was exploring some other regions of India and had to be content with the pictures sent by someone who actually saw the Akbar saga played out and the stories narrated.
Rumsu village is fascinating and hence I also chalked out plans for a solo trek across the Chanderkhani pass to reach Malana and explore it in a better manner. I say all this in a retrospective tone because just 2 days ago, a law has been passed in Malana. It is hereby forbidden for tourists to stay overnight in this ancient village. The village deity ‘Jamlu’ has spoken through the ‘Gur’ (official messenger of the God) saying tourists are spoiling the rich culture of Malana and corrupting the locals.
Check : Shangarh in Sainj Valley – Of Temples and Meadows
The village deity, ‘Jamlu Devta’ has forbidden all villagers from renting out their properties for running guest houses and hotels effectively making sure visitors can only come to Malana for a day trek hitherto. Apparently the Malana locals had also banned photography only a few months ago. It is to be noted that the main source of income for the locals in this remote village is through cultivation of marijuana. Malana cream (a variety of hashish) is known to be the costliest and top quality hashish in the world.
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Malana can still be accessed only by a trek and usually the time taken to hike one way is around 3 hours.
With no clarity on my next visit, let me take this opportunity to share a few photographs from Malana. Who knows, if no more photography is allowed there – these few photo memories should not be kept inert in the hard disk.
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16 thoughts on “Life in Malana, In Photos”
So fascinating! The pictures are quite striking. Since I gauge a place’s culture through its food, curious to know about the local cuisine. And are there good restaurants here?
Thanks, glad you liked the photographs. There used to be 2-3 homestays in Malana but all that was served was drab Indian food. As per my knowledge, ever since the road was built – access to outside vegetables and food has made it easier for the villagers to simply get assimilated in the Indian way of life and lose their tradition. Not really sure if there are any specific dishes in Malana.
Lovely images from Malana.
Yay, big compliment coming from you Niranjan. I’m sure to be in Bangalore sometime this year. Will dm you for exchanging phone numbers. 😀
Amazing pictures!! And you dared to solo travel to this mysterious land-gutsy you!!
Thanks for the appreciation. To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult journey at all. Cheers
This reminds me of my recent trip to Malana.
I’m glad it does… Don’t know if life here will ever remain the same. Tourism has changed so many things so quickly. Thanks for checking Indrajit.
Malana is an enigma for all travelers. It has been more than 24 years since I was first there in times of film photography. Guest houses were out of question and there used to be a big list of do’s and don’ts in the village periphery. In those days, Malana still used to prosper on its opium fields. Roadhead was more distant and trek to Malana was thoroughly challenging. Lot seems to have changed now.
Wow, I can’t imagine how it must have been 24 years ago. Very few people would have actually made the trek up across the mountains. I’ve heard from old timers that before the road was built, it was a treacherous walk to reach Malana.
Hope to meet you someday and listen to the stories.
So fascinating! The pictures are quite amazing.
Fallen in love with Malana again
Thanks man! Glad you liked it.