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This beautiful trek passes the village of Malana. It is an isolated community with its own language, customs and laws. The people here are believed to be the direct descendants of the forces of Alexander the Great – who left the sick soldiers behind while returning after invading India. The Chandrakhani pass is a beautiful pass with large wildflowers. The trek down from the pass is very steep.
Malana has been the subject of various documentaries, including Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village, and Malana, A Lost Identity. The existing speakers of the autochthonous language Kanashi, the traditional language of the inhabitants of Malana, number approximately 170
Highest Point: Chandrakhani Pass 3660 m
The first day of the trek leads through cool forests of giant Deodar (Cedar), Alder and Oak. The trail ascends gently at first, through the Manalsu valley along Manalsu stream. Extensive views of the Kullu valley appear and slowly fade into the distant as you reach the first campsite in the lush green meadows of Lamadugh. Beautiful views of the surrounding peaks dominate the scene.
As you gain height in this steep climb the distinct views of different face of Mt. Indrasan, Mt. DeoTibba and peaks of Bara Shigri glacier open up. At the last leg, the path turns to the right and one traverse the ridge horizontally and enters into an alpine plateau studded with thick growth of alpine flowers. The campsite ideally located.
Now the trail ascends steeply through woodland and meadows with wild alpine flowers strewn all around. On the way, brilliant shrubs of rhododendron and birch pave the way to the ridge after which you get to the campsite. After lunch, you can explore the surroundings.
An early start after breakfast to reach the summit of KhanpriTibba and then go further to visit the sacred Lake of Hindus’ – Rani Sui. The trek is through steep ridge below KhanpriTibba 4000m. From this point you can catch a glimpse of Manali, situated on the left bank of river Beas and the whole Upper Kullu valley, which appears different at different occasions due to change of colours and Hoes of cultivated fields. The trail descends sharply through forests of Pine and other Coniferous trees to the village of Shegli.
Walk down on a well – defined trail through the village of Shegli and you reach the road head at Pangan. From here, drive to Naggar.Delightfully situated on a wooded slope and commanding an extensive view of the valley, Naggar is famous for its temples, ancient castle, and the Roerich Art Gallery.
After breakfast, drive higher up till the end of the road. It is a gradual climb through a forest of Poplars, Pines, Oak, and Rhododendron. There are small meadows along the way as you climb up to theRumsu Thach, stopping at Rumsu village to look at the lovely wooden houses and temple.
Another beautiful day passing through lovely forest and beautiful meadows even as the climb gets steeper as you head towards the pass.
Legend has it that thousands of years ago, Jamlu (the presiding deity of Malana) was carrying a basket containing the Gods of Kullu. At the pass as he opened the basket, a very strong wind blew and the Gods fell all over the Kullu valley to their present abodes. Since then, the valley is known as the ‘valley of Gods’.
A steep climb and you are at the summit. FromtheChandrakhani Pass (3660m) one can have a striking view of DeoTibba, overlooking the Malana glen and other snow-capped mountains on the Spiti border. From there one descends to Malana village.
Malana comprises of two parts about a hundred yards apart.The village is famous for its distinct and fully reserved social and cultural set-up. The Malana people have a distinct language; and customs are curious pocket, aloof and closed unto themselves. The village has a unique system of administration. In fact, it is said to be the oldest republic still existent in India or for that matter anywhere in the world.
We leave Malana and descent down to the road to board the car for the drive to Manali.