In a Nutshell
Deep in the heart of the Indian Himalayas, you’ll discover Malana, a thriving village which generates its income by growing and selling cannabis. Being 9,939 feet above sea level, it’s almost segregated from the rest of the world, but tourists still manage to navigate their way to ‘Malana and the Magical Valley’.
The Whole Bushel
Malana is an ancient village steeped in history, but arguably for all the wrong reasons. Located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, and to north-east of Kullu Valley, the residents of the village rely on the ever-growing cannabis plant for financial-stability, rather than out of enjoyment. You see, as Malana is saturated with the taboo plant, and the villagers can expertly extract the hash from it, its seen as an easy way to make money.
The farmers sell the hash to foreigners, or alternatively, to the rich and famous in the Indian big cities. Of course, as it is an illegal drug in India, the police force tries their best to interrupt the booming drugs’ trade. However, as the plant grows naturally up in the mountains, and as it’s not very accessible, they are rarely able to convict anyone.
Plus, India and cannabis have a long and trusted relationship; it’s said that Lord Shiva once fed on the flowers of the plant, and the mafia honored the quality of the hash. Now, although nowadays it revolves around business, the villagers still adhere to their distinct values, belief, and culture, so no-one ever speaks to the police.
The whole village of Malana abide by secrecy and pride, and the majority of the workers know nothing other than farming cannabis, extracting the resin with their bare hands, and then selling it. Although, that secrecy prevents the police from doing their job, which is why crime rates are so elevated. Over the past 20 or so years, a multitude of tourists have gone missing, or have been pronounced dead in the valley.
So, it is often recommended that you journey up the Indian Himalayas with a specialist guide, who is aware of the safe route to take. In addition, a guide will also inform you of all the necessary rituals that you need to undertake. Despite Malana being a renowned village for illegal activity, it is still rife with religion.
In fact, the religious approach that the locals take is often considered to be extreme. If ‘outsiders’ touch anything they shouldn’t, they are required to pay a sum which is the equivalent of the price of sacrificial lamb, which is used to purify the object. Furthermore, before entering a house or eating food, non-Malanis must undergo a stringent purification process, and the cooking utensils must be purified as well.
Ultimately, the villagers of Malana have been accustomed to cannabis farming for centuries, and they essentially utilize Mother Nature to meet their financial needs. But, the culture, religion, and customs highlight that it is much more than just a cannabis village.