Malana Village in Kullu- The oldest democracy!

Malana, a village in the Kullu district considered to be the oldest democracy in the world. A village headed by a local deity, Jamlu Devta. The culture and governance of the village gives it a separate and unique position in the Himachal history.

Knowing Malana Village in Kullu

Malana is a village in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, which has its unique identity. The village is situated at chilling height of 12000 feet on the Chandrakhani mountain. The culture, governing rules, tradition of this village is pretty different from the local inhabitants of Kullu. The people here are believed to be the successors of Alexander. The entire village is under the rule and protection of single deity, Jamlu Devta. Since ages people have been working and obeying the rules of Jamlu Devta. There is no interference of outsiders, Indian law, Indian police or any other central or state governing body in the matters of this village. All the matters are settled upon the consent of the officials appointed in this village and every decision is taken in accordance with Jamlu Devta’s will.

The main occupation of the people here is farming and cultivation. The entire land here is in the name of the local deity, Jamlu Devta. People work on the lands and at the time harvesting, they always offer some share of the production to Jamlu Devta. This part of food items is stored and used in times of rituals and other festivals associated with Jamlu Devta. Since the village is at a very good height, apples also grow here. Malana village is internationally famous for weeds. All these are the main sources of income of this village. People in this village have to marry within the village and cannot marry outside.

Who is Jamlu Devta?

Jamlu Devta is basically a local name given to Rishi Jamdagani of Tretayug who came in this part of Kullu valley for meditation. He was the father of the most angry sage Shri Parshuram. Renuka was the spouse of Jamdagani Rishi which today exists as Renuka Lake in Sirmour . Jamdagani Rishi was one of the most renowned saint of that era. He was the only Rishi who was gifted the Kamdhenu Cow, a cow with supernatural power to produce any food item for any number of people.

There is no particular idol of Rishi Jamdagani, that is worshipped. People worship statue of horses in the name of Jamdagani. Horse is regarded as the sign of Rishi Jamdagani . People visiting this village presents models of horse made out of silver to the deity. The existence of Jamdagani Rishi is known to be at very few places. One is in this Malana village and another is in the Ani tehsil of Kullu district. There is a small temple of Jamdagani Rishi in the Village Zehra, Ani Tehsil of Kullu. Jamdagani Rishi is believed to exist there too.

Governance in Malana Village, Kullu

Malana is believed to have the oldest democracy in the world. There are two houses of the elected members popularly known as the lower house and upper house(just like Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). Kanishthang is the lower house whereas Jayeshthang is the upper house.

Jayeshthang, Upper House of Malana Village, Kullu

The upper house, Jayeshthang consists of three permanent members and eight temporary members (total eleven members). The three permanent members are Karmishth, Pujari and Gur. Karmishth is the executive and administrative head of the entire village. Pujari is the main worshipper associated with Jamlu Devta. He has to participate and perform all the rituals and religious ceremonies related to Jamlu Devta and in the village. Gur, is one of the most important members of the upper house. He is the person, in which Jamlu Devta actually comes to give his verdicts, to tell the policies and to make various important prophecies related to the betterment of village. Gur is chosen by Jamlu Devta himself. Gur has to devote his entire life for the service of Jamlu Devta. The temporay eight members of the upper house are chosen from the four wards called Chug. Each Chug has two parts, each of which is known as Chhuddi.Four wards are,Thamyani, Nagvani, Durani and Palchani respectively. Two eldest members of each ward (one from each Chhuddi) are chosen to form the eight temporary members of the upper house.

After the death of Gur, the next Gur is selected by Jamlu Devta himself. That particular person starts getting dreams or Jamlu Devta himself in his body. After certain rituals, the new Gur is then officially declared. However, the eight temporary members are elected among the most mature members of each of the four wards. After the death of any of the members similar procedure is followed.

Kanishthang, Lower House of Malana Village, Kullu

The lower house, Kanishthang, consists of one eldest member from each of the family of the village. Mostly, the head of the family is chosen as the member. In case, there is no male head in the family, the eldest lady is chosen as the member. Every decision in the village requires the consent of the lower house. Once a particular issue has been forwarded by positive consent of both the houses only then the decision is finalized. In case of conflict between the two houses, the issue is left in the hands of Jamlu Devta himself. Thus Jamlu Devta acts as the land of last resort in case of conflicting matters of the village. Jamlu Devta put forth his decision by speaking through the body of Gur. The decision of Jamlu Devta is final and mandatory for all the villagers to follow.

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