Residents of this Himachal village claim to be the descendants of Alexander The Great
World's oldest democracy, producers of the world's best hashish and home to the descendants of Alexander The Great- the small village of Malana, tucked away in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh is not so small after all.
Isolated from the rest of the world, situated at the height of 10,000 ft (above sea level), the inhabitants claim that the village was founded by the remnants of Alexander the Great Army.
As the legend goes, some Greek soldiers took refuge in the region after Alexander left the country and settled there permanently.
The legendary descent of the people, pre-dating the Alexander the Great soldiers by approximately a thousand year, further challenges that theory.
The region traces its history Jamlu rishi. The sage who inhabited the place and made rules and regulations that are still practiced by the locals.
The Rishi finds mention in the Puranas, however, it is believed that he was worshipped in the pre-Aryan times.
Another version argues that the inhabitants of this tiny village are descendants Aryans.
Legend has it that the village was granted independence by Mughal Emperor Akbar The Great after he was successfully cured of an ailment he was afflicted with.
The villagers speak Kanashi/Raksh. Legend has it that the language was spoken by devil residing there long time ago. The language is understood by only the people of the community and resembles a mixture of Sanskrit and several Tibetan dialects.
People of Malana consider outsiders to be 'inferior' and consequently 'untouchables'. So much so, the visitors are not even allowed to touch any of the walls and houses of the people.
If one does happen to make physical contact with these forbidden objects or people, he or she is required to pay a forfeit sum that will cover the sacrificial slaughter of a lamb in order purify the object that has been made impure.
Malanis are not even allowed to cooked food from outside. Special purification ritual needs to be undertaken before offering food to visitors.
Villagers are staunch followers of deity, Jamblu Devta.
The village is governed by him through a council of eleven ministers. The decision of the deity is final and no outside interference is entertained by the villagers.
Due to its distinct culture and way of life, it is often referred to as the Athens of Himalayas.
Recent genetic typing of the Malani population is more consistent with an Indo-Aryan origin with a large proportion of Y-DNA haplotypes J2 and R1a associated with Indo-Aryan influences in South Asia than with a Greek origin which would have a different characteristic mix of Y-DNA haplotypes.
The village claims itself to be one of the oldest democracies in the world.