Shoja – Tiny Hamlet Nestled in the Seraj Valley

Shoja

Shoja is a hamlet located in the Seraj Valley, which forms a link between the districts of Shimla and Kullu. A small village that offers the best that nature can give you (with tables and chairs made of tree trunks) is often ignored by the Kasol-loving crowd.  With sloping mountains covered in verdure, conifers and deodars stretching for miles around, and an incredible view of the snow-covered peaks, this is a breathtaking spot.

The village of Shoja is still hidden in most parts, which makes it all the more interesting to discover.  Shoja is a perfect weekend retreat.

Aut Tunnel

How to Reach

Shoja can be reached after driving a distance of approximately 38 km from Aut. A set of magical wonders unfold before your eyes as you put your foot into this land. The best months to go are April to June and September to October. It can be somewhat complicated to get here, unless you are driving yourself.

Places to Visit

Tirthan Valley means that if you are here for a long weekend, it is possible to head there. A sojourn to Shoja is more about rest and relaxation, with a few activities thrown in.

Waterfall Shoja

Waterfall Point

There’s many treks you can do from Shoja, make sure you check out the waterfall that has been made into a tourist spot with its small and slippery bridges and chairs and tables made from tree trunks. A good rum session there is a must!

Jalori Pass

Jalori Pass

The area of Jalori Pass is, quite simply put, a natural paradise. The pass is at a height of 3,125 m, and is located five km away from Shoja. The view from the top is simply heavenly and well worth the trip. From there, you can get a spectacular panoramic view of the Himalayas, a top-of-the-world feeling. Beyond Jalori Pass you can trek 6kms and reach Serolsar Lake a nice place to set camp or just have a day out with your mates.

serolsar lake

Trout Fishing in the Tirthan Valley

This activity can be done in Tirthan Valley, not far from Shoja. You can go on your own, but first timers may be better off with a guide who will arrange the required equipment and show you the best spots for trout fishing.

Trout Fishing

Once you have discovered Shoja, there are only a few other places you will like when planning a short getaway.


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Kheerganga – Gifted Abode for Natural Hot water Springs

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Parvati Valley is situated in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. From the confluence of the Parvati River with the River Beas, the Parvati Valley runs eastwards, through a steep-sided valley from the town of Bhuntar, in the Kullu valley. The valley offers beautiful view of Parvati River and the Glacier of Lahaul Spiti. The valley echoes of mystical power of nature and has lot to offer to the travelers.

Kheerganga is situated in Parvati Valley at a distance of 22 km from Manikaran. Kheerganga or Kheer Ganga as the name suggest is Ganga River ( the Ganges River) as White as a Kheer (an Indian sweet dish made from milk and Rice) The name Kheerganga came due to the milky waters of the river flowing in all its vastness and its streams flowing into Parvati valley from all sides of the mountain.

For Khirganga, one has to go by motor-able road up to a place called ‘Barshaini’ and from there to Khirganga on foot. This trek leads through hilly terrain. This is the place where ‘Kartik Ji’, the elder son of ‘Lord Shiva’ remained in ‘housands of years.

KheerGanga remains snow-covered during winters and only gets temporary settlement during summers which make is a perfect hide-out for those who want to smoke weed, hash etc. without any concern…… Cheap and safer staircase to heaven… The natural hot-water-spring experience is something that you will remember for a lifetime..

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The trek is very pleasant and offers some exhilarating views. The vegetation changes dramatically and opens up into a flatland that is graced by the occasional tent, the few guest houses and cafes and the temple premises which also comprises of the hot water spring.

KheerGanga is known for hot water stream which flows beneath the temple of Lord Shiva. Temple is highly revered hence alcohol is not permitted in KheerGanga however other kind of Intoxication are in surplus. There is well made pool to bathe in the hot water stream and water is really hot.

 

Malana – Local Deity Orders The Closure of all Guest Houses and Restaurants in the Village

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

 

Article VIA: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hasish-village-malana-s-deity-orders-restaurants-guest-houses-shut-to-save-culture/story-LBj0YA3NtbrdGmJEln2w1J.html