For the old hippie, the very name ‘Malana’ could be an instant stimulant. This is where a mountain village in Himachal Pradesh’s panoramic Kullu district stands in terms of notoriety. Malana produces one of the world’s best and most expensive varieties of hashish—Malana Cream. Hashish is made from the resin of cannabis, which grows wild all over the valley, its grasslands and slopes, close to the Himalayan snowline.
It’s not difficult to trace how Malana—a remote landlocked plateau jutting up from the Parvati valley, but now connected by road—transformed into a hub of hashish. It’s attributable to the footfalls of foreigners, mostly Israelis and Europeans, on budget trips. The backpackers soon started staying for extended periods in the Parvati region, over time even settling down. Initially, this was oriented towards self-consumption but slowly that morphed into peddling and high-volume smuggling, as they started developing stakes in organised cultivation.