Forbidden Republic of Malana

When it is 21st century, it is very difficult to believe about places which are still lying disconnected from the mainland. Malana is such a spot which is 45 km. from much popular tourist destination of Kullu and has been lying isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. 

That much mention of such a solitary village was enough to stir the exploring soul of this vagabond. In line to my philosophy that good travelers never plan in advance, I was on the way to Parvati Valley, situated to the northeast of Kullu valley to see the sights of Malana.

Drive to Malana is extremely picturesque with beautiful valleys to accompany you till Malana. The excitement to reach this place coupled with a captivating drive kept me glued to the window and in the process, I forgot to click the pictures in the drive. Malana is considered to be the oldest democracy and locales consider themselves to be descendants of some deported soldiers of Alexander. Their participative type justice system reflects traces of ancient Greek system.

In the way I came across an ancient Lord Shiva temple. A quick pit-stop was necessary to thank Lord Shiva for blessing me with this wonderful opportunity and continued my quest in the snaky roads.

After surfing some of the snakiest roads in these mountains, finally I was at the destination from where cars cannot go further. 

The last 4 km. to Malana Village has to be covered on foot, now this trekker was all charged up as the trek would have taken me to the rock bottom of this valley. A first-time experience for me...
45-60 minutes of trekking to Malana will remove all the calcium and rust from the bones and will provide memories worth cherishing forever. At places trek is too narrow and steep but manageable, my trekking capabilities were being rigorously tested. Do not try to test the might of mountains, however, cherish the experience of checking the mountains from the bottom. Make sure you carry a good rucksack to protect your gears, as bottom of valley is pretty moist...
Finally, I was at the cloud nine, the Malana village:

I found here some very exquisitely carved temples:

Please do not touch the temples and structures as it is prohibited. If any outsider touches these structures then purification of the structures has to be carried out from the fine which has to be paid by the defaulter. It is believed that father of Lord Parshuram, Sage Jamdagni performed meditation here to please the gods. Temple is named as Jamula Temple, after Sage Jamula who used to live here. 

I found this strange, so I started talking to the locales. By what locales told me I was simply astonished. Malana still follows their form of democracy where village council (of 11 members) is unanimously chosen by trust of villagers (no election). Justice is without any favoritism as opinion of everyone in the village is taken into account and thus is agreed by everyone. Small place, innocent/ simple people are offering big lessons to outside world – Trust, respect and strong believe in God. Here people do everything in front of God, even the justice.

Most of the cases are resolved by this manner. In case of severe disagreement, justice of Lamb comes to the rescue. Yes, Justice of Lamb...??? A cut is made on one foreleg of each of the 2 lambs assigned to each faction; cut is poisoned and sewn back. Accused is the one whose lamb dies first, nobody disagrees then.

Role of external police is not at all required. If the accused want police intervention, a fine has to be paid to the village council. Locales also told me very interesting facts about their lives, like.

  • Fixing nails on a tree and burning wood in forests of Malana is prohibited
  • Only dry twigs and branches can be carried outside the forest.
  • Hunting of wild animals is forbidden, except for a few occasions and that too with the permission of the village council.
  • The wild animals that attack the villagers ’cattle are killed by hunters from the village.

Not only temples, the houses here have distinct construction which is very different from other similar places. The ground floor, Khudang is the cattle shed which stores firewood and cattle fodder. Gaying is the first floor and stores eatables, wool and is used for weaving woolen fabric. The top floor which is the living quarter is called Pati and has a balcony too.

The place is amazing but if you plan to visit in February, you can be a party to Harlala Mask Dance Festival. At this event people dance around in demon like masks.

Request to all travellers: Experience this beautiful place to the extent of enjoying and avoid invading the privacy of local people. People here do not like outsiders mainly due to steady rise in influx of tourists. 

Keep travelling Guys. If you still have energies and time, drive to Manikaran Sahib or continue your journey to Manali...

Gaurav Verma

A passionate Traveler who wants to see the whole world before hanging his boots. Always ready to explore offbeat and hidden spots. MBA + Engineer from Ivy league colleges, Gaurav is much sought after for his choice of lifestyle activities and Brand promotional campaigns.


Thank you for taking time to post comment on Travel Diaries.
Your comments are the real source of motivation. If you require any further information about any place, please feel free to approach us by mail or through the comments on the posts.
We look forward eagerly to receive you again on Travel Diaries.

  1. And I didn't even know about this place! Thank you for sharing 😊

    Cheers, Archana -

  2. This gem goes to my pin board on pinterest :)

  3. Had absolutely no clue such place exists! Though have been to Manikaran Sahib...
    Sharing it right away!

    1. Thanks for dropping by...
      It is a fantastic place, experience is amazing when you get down all the way to the bottom of the valley. Our India is full of such places...

Previous Post Next Post