The ancient village Malana, home of the famous Malana Cream cannabis, is also a famously guarded village with its own traditions, culture and parliament. Malana in Himachal Pradesh, famous for its premium quality hashish, may be off limits for tourists as the village’s presiding deity, during a ‘parliament’ meet, ordered the closure of all guest houses and restaurants in the region. ‘to protect’ local culture and traditions.
The deity’s diktat came on the heels of a meeting of the village’s own ’parliament’ which concluded that outsiders thronging their village were a threat to their culture. The ‘parliament’ comprises an upper house called Jayeshthang and a lower house called Kanishthang. Villagers invoked Jamlu after the ‘parliament’ met.
Villagers in Malana invoke Jamlu through a chosen medium – in this case an oracle, who then conveys to them what the deity ‘said.’ Devotes believe Jamlu responds to all kinds of queries.
“The deity did not want any of the villagers to rent out their property for running guest houses and restaurants. He has forbidden everyone from doing this, and those violating his orders will have to bear the brunt of his curse,” Malana panchayat pradhan Bhagi Ram told.
Inhabitants of Malana known as the Malanis have a distinctive dialect called Kanashi, which is different from the others spoken in the Kullu region. Malana is an isolated village in the Parvati Valley and its reclusive inhabitants are said to be descendants of soldiers of Alexander’s army.
A few months back, the village had banned photography because villagers felt that visitors clicking pictures were portraying Malana as a hub of narco-tourism.
“It’s unfortunate that cannabis trade has defamed our village. People of this village have their own culture and beliefs
Malana managed to preserve its culture due to two factors: devotion to Devta Jamlu and its geographical isolation. Now both are getting diluted due to the Malana hydro project and mobile telephony. Their devotion to the devta is keeping them together, but how long will it be before it becomes a cosmetic ritual
Traditionally, inhabitants of this land-locked village used to make baskets, ropes and slippers from hemp. But in the late 1980s, the visiting foreigners taught the villagers to extract the intoxicating resin from cannabis.
Though successive governments have tried to wean the villagers away from narcotic trade, there is no other cash crop to rival cannabis in Malana. The maize and potatoes grown by the villagers do not fetch handsome returns
Tabo is a small village, situated on the left bank of river Spiti in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is 50 kms short of Kaza, major town in Spiti Valley, while travelling from Reckong Peo to Kaza. Flanked on either side by hills, it houses one of the most important Buddhist monasteries that are regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet.
Tabo Monastery, also known as the ‘Ajanta of the Himalayas,’ is one of the most popular monasteries in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley and was founded more than a millennium back in 996 A.D. This ancient structure stands on the barren, cold, and rocky desert of the Tabo valley at a dizzying height of 3050 meters above sea level. This untouched beauty has preserved the glorious heritage, traditions, and culture of Buddhism through the passage of centuries.
Tabo Monastery was founded by the buddhist king (and royal lama) Yeshe O’d in 996 A.D. A renovation inscription says it was renovated 46 years later by Yeshe O’d’s grandnephew, the royal priest Jangchub O’d. These royal patrons, the kings of the Purang-Guge kingdom, were descended from the ancient Tibetan monarchy. Their ancestors migrated to west Tibet in the 10th century. By the end of the 10th century their territory stretched from Ladakh to Purang and included all of western Tibet (ancient Zhang Zhung). Successive members of this dynasty built many monasteries along the trade routes linking the far corners of their kingdom.
The Nine Temples:
The Temple of the Enlightened Gods (gTug-Lha-khang)
The Golden Temple (gSer-khang)
The Mystic Mandala Temple / Initiation Temple (dKyil-kHor- khang)
The Bodhisattva Maitreya Temple (Byams-Pa Chen-po Lha-khang)
The Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha khang)
The Chamber of Picture Treasures (Z’al-ma)
The Large Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha khang)
The Mahakala Vajra Bhairava Temple (Gon-khang)
The White Temple (dKar-abyum Lha-Khang)
The unique beauty of its art and its pivotal historical role in the transmission of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and culture in the 10th and 11th century makes Tabo Monastery an historically significant site. The main temple preserves an extraordinary wealth of documentation of the history and culture of the period