Stretched along the lovely Parvati River with mountains rising all around, Kasol is the main traveler hang-out in the valley. It’s a small village but almost overrun with reggae bars, bakeries and cheap guesthouses catering to a large backpacker crowd, nowadays including growing numbers of Indians. It’s also a summertime venue for trance parties transplanted from Goa and at any time an easy base for exploring the forested valley or just chilling out.
Remote Malana village, high on a hillside 20km up a side valley north of Jari, is one strange village. Its people – descended, according to legend, from deserters from Alexander the Great’s army speak their own unique language, operate what’s called the world’s oldest democracy, consider outsiders unclean and step aside if you pass them to avoid being touched
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