Whereas once upon a time it was Shiva sitting on the mountaintops in the Himalayas eating the ganja flower for its spiritual purpose, now it is being grown and used by the locals purely for business.
These photos are the story of those local people living in the Himalayas, where marijuana grows completely wild, to the point where it can barely be controlled by the government. Enjoy this preview into the modern day use of the cannabis indica plant in India.
Making Mountain Charas
The locals spend all day harvesting their marijuana and rubbing the resin off the flowers in order to create something called charas. Charas is a type of hashish, that of course, takes quite a long time to harvest given that it is all produced by hand. This hashish is considered to be some of the best in the world and is currently what a lot of Indians are smoking instead of flowers. Out of financial necessity, the villagers in these areas have made a business out of making charas and selling them throughout India.
It uses a lot of their plant material to make charas, as it takes around 50 buds of marijuana to produce only 10 grams of charas. It is estimated that there are tons of charas produced a year, and the local people follow the same technique of making charas that was used when the first Holy men went to the mountains to obtain charas.
Police Control Next To Impossible
Cannabis remains illegal in India, but despite this, it is next to impossible for the police to control its production, its use and its sale. This is because the cannabis plant is native to India, and so it grows raucous all over the country. The locals in this village live at around 9,000 feet altitude, in a location that is completely inaccessible by car. It takes three hours to hike there. So you can imagine, the police hardly make their way up there. According to the locals, the police only came twice during the last harvesting season, and so it was an easy one for them.
Adding to this, because the plant can grow just about anywhere in India, locals continue to move their growing operations to higher and higher altitudes, making them harder and harder to reach by police. There is quite a high demand for the charas that the local people are making, and they are subsequently making their entire living off selling charas. They sell to foreigners as well as to other Indians in bigger cities, who can then go on to sell it there.
Prohibition Fails In India, Too
Well, it’s clear that prohibition has failed all over the world. But India was one of the last countries to jump on the bandwagon of banning cannabis, doing so only recently in 1985. The history of cannabis in India is so old, and has been used for so many reasons, it seems that the country is not yet ready to abandon marijuana. And nor should it. It is serving locals who may have no other way to make a living, and of course, it is keeping the travellers entertained.
Marijuana is part of the religious rituals and festivals of India, and the locals don’t seem to be in any rush to stop using their beloved plant.
How do you see the story of ganja in India? Do you have any other amazing photographs of growing operations that are a little bit left of centre? Let us know your thoughts on our social media page or in the comments section below.
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