Malana is an ancient village in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located at an altitude of 2652 m, tucked in the Kullu valley. Malana village in the Malana Nala, a side valley of the Parvati valley, is isolated from the rest of the world.
There are various theories regarding the origin of the village. One states that Jamlu rishi stayed here and made the rules and regulations. It is said to be one of the oldest democracies in the world, with its own parliamentary system which was guided by Jamlu rishi. The residents of Malana are said to be descendants of Aryans and Jamlu is said to be worshipped in the Pre Aryan times. The residents of the village gained their independence during the Mughal Empire when Emperor Akbar walked into the village to cure an ailment he was suffering from. After being successfully cured, he declared that the residents of the valley would never have to pay tax.
Another theory suggests that the village was found by remnants of Alexander the Great’s army.
The villagers speak Kanashi/Raksh, which is only understood by the villagers. It seems to be a mix of Sanskrit and other Tibetan dialects. The village is thought to be the oldest republic in the world and has a democratic village administration. The people in Malana think of non-Malani to be inferior, and when one visits the village, one should be careful to stick to prescribed paths and not touch any of people, walls or houses there. If such an incident does occur, one has to pay a fine which will cover the slaughter of a lamb to be sacrificed to purify the impure object.
The trekking route to Malana Village begins in Manali, and is 21 km long, passing through Naggar and Rumsu to Naurya Tapru, below the Chanderkheni Pass. One can also see the Hanuman Tibba and Dhaula Dhar Ranges on the way before entering the village with its strict customs and social structure.
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