They say unplanned trips are the best; but what about the unplanned destinations!!! Like those times, when you have your whole journey planned out as to what all places you want to go and the whole time schedule is prepared and set and you just have to follow the guidelines. Don’t we all do that? Prepare a timetable of places, so that we don’t miss out on any. And then you meet some random stranger, who talks to you about one such place that has the most strange customs and traditions, the most beautiful and scenic landscapes you can ever think of, and the varied lifestyle of people offering you a different perspective of life. Would you then not like to make slight changes to your existing itinerary and add this place to your list? Well, I definitely would. And that’s what I call an unplanned destination. And believe me guys when I say, the unplanned destinations are as good as the unplanned trips, or maybe even better. It makes your trip even more memorable and enthralling.
Yes, my trip to Malana was something like that. And I still feel thankful to that guy for being the reason for my travel to this beautiful village called Malana. Malana is quite a popular place, especially among the herb-lovers. You get the supreme quality hash there. Almost 95 percent of local people of Malana earn their livelihood through hash business. Although the best of Malana hash is exported to countries including Russia, Amsterdam, America and so on, Malana is still the Mecca of a dopehead.
Malana happened to me during my trip to Kasol. I along with my friends decided to go to Malana, and reroute our journey, was the best decision of our trip. You get to see overwhelming waterfalls on the way to Malana village. And then, after a few hours drive from Kasol, we finally reached the place from where we were to start our trek to Malana. The trek is not so long, but it might tire you a bit because of the steep steps that you have to walk through. After chilling at the river for about an hour or so, we started our trek. I still remember how tiresome the trek was, but the breathtaking snow capes won the battle of adventure. After trekking for around an hour, we reached a café. We made a halt there for tea and snacks. The aura that was created by the cohorts of youth there interacting with the locals and each other is a little hard to explain. It was like as if everyone had their own stories to tell and no one wanted to be quiet, while a group of Malanaites is busy thanking Lord Shiva in their own traditional way. A few visitors have joined them too.
‘Bum Bhole Nath’
We moved further after having tea. A local joined us from there, telling us the history of this little beautiful village. We heard numerous stories and created some simultaneously. He asked us to take small steps, saying that it will make us less exhausted. He told us about The Rudra Café and ‘The Full Power’ behind it. You don’t know what Full Power is? Hah! Full Power is the ultimate panoramic location from where you get to see the valleys of Rasol covered with the white sheet of snow in the Dhauladhar mountain range. You can just stand there for hours looking at the unseen beauty of nature, appreciating it in ways you cannot even imagine, unless you have been there.
As soon as we entered the village, the kids surrounded us. They were going to every person who was visiting the village asking them for sweets. This local guy with us bought a box of chocolates from a shop nearby and started distributing them among the kids. Now here comes the anomalous part of the village. Malana kids won’t take anything from your hand. You have to throw it to them and then they will pick it up. Strange… Isn’t it? But that’s what their tradition has taught them.
I remember I saw a few girls with green eyes and blonde hair. The stories say that the original Malanaites are the descendants of Alexander The Great, this being the reason behind the fact that Malanaites have sharp Greek features. It is said that the descendants of Alexander can only marry someone from their own community to keep the blood pure. They are very adamant about their choices. They also do not love interacting with outsiders and are quite tight-lipped about their cultures and traditions. They have beautiful temples in the village, but you can see sign boards all around the village that says, “ You are not allowed to touch or enter the periphery of the temples. Anyone found doing this would be charged a fine of INR 2000.” If that doesn’t make you understand how reticent they are about their cultures and traditions, I don’t know what will. That local guy also told us that even the little of the kids here knows how to make good hash. In fact, the hash prepared by the kids is the best one and is termed as ‘Malana crème’. He told us that these kids asking us for sweets is not just some random act of adolescence. If they like you, they even offer you some Malana crème as a present. Oh! How can I forget to tell you about the aesthetic beauty of the village? Well, if I have to explain Malana in one word, I would say ‘Enigma’. Some places are so mysteriously beautiful, that you find it difficult to phrase words in order to appreciate the chaotic grandeur of that place. That’s the case with Malana. You can see huge wooden logs kept in all the houses of Malana. They trade wood. The houses are made of wood too.
We moved further to finally witness the Full Power. It was as astounding as it could get. The perfect view of the beautiful snow capes with clouds was creating a phantasm in nature. Some people were just expressing their untapped thoughts, some were introspecting sitting at a corner alone, some were chitchatting with their friends, but one thing that seemed common was that everyone was in their state of euphoria. After a brief interaction with our inner selves, we decided to trek back. The sun was about to set, so we decided to hurry, so that we could reach there in the daylight. Just one last pause at this place before going was imperative. We did exactly that and left the place with oodles of memories in our heart and with a desire to come back soon to make trillion more memories.