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Dark side of Kasol, where people disappearing at an alarming rate

The search for Akshay Sethi, a Mumbai boy who went missing from Kasol in Kullu's Parvati Valley on May 28, continues with no progress even

By groundreportdesk
New Update
Dark side of Kasol, where people disappearing at an alarming rate

The search for Akshay Sethi, a Mumbai boy who went missing from Kasol in Kullu's Parvati Valley on May 28, continues with no progress even after 15 days. The region has gained notoriety for hiding its dark mysteries, with 27 trekkers, including 21 foreigners and six Indians, missing in the past few years.

Parvati Valley has earned unfortunate nicknames like "India's Bermuda Triangle" or "The Valley of Drugs and Death.

Akshay's father, Manmohan Sethi took to Twitter to announce the disappearance of his son on May 28 and urged anyone with information on Akshay's whereabouts to contact him directly.

He tweeted "My Son Akshay Sethi, 22 years is missing since 29 May from Kasol, Himachal. Please spread this post and contact me if you have any info. Manmohan Sethi 9810912430".

Flickr/Himanshu Jain

Amid the resumption of tourist activities in Kullu-Manali, Parvati Valley saw a worrying rise in disappearances in 2022, with a staggering 227 tourists going missing. This marked the highest number of missing persons in recent years, setting off alarm bells in the region.

People also infamously disappear here because, since 2011, the Himachal police have observed 20 cases where they found neither the missing persons nor their bodies. Their data shows that 113 people have gone missing in the valley in the last 12 years, but they managed to track down 93 of them.

How many people lost in Parvati Valley?

Shocking government data has revealed a worrying trend of disappearances in the renowned Parvati Valley. In the last two decades, between 2003 and 2023, 1,078 people have disappeared in Parvati Valley, 21 of whom were foreigners. Shockingly, only 498 of the missing people have been located, leaving countless unsolved cases and distraught families.

The recent disappearance of 22-year-old Akshay Sethi is not an isolated case, as several others have gone missing in the past, raising concerns about the safety of visitors to Kasol in the Parvati Valley.

The most recent example is a 27-year-old visitor from Ghaziabad, near Delhi. After attending a New Year's Eve party, He disappeared on December 31. His body was found after a 35-day search.

Polish trekker goes missing in the Parbati Valley. Photo Credit: X

Another such case involved Dhruv Agarwal, a 32-year-old man who arrived in Kasol in November 2021. Captivated by the scenic beauty, Dhruv made a video call to his family, but tragically, that was the last they heard from him.

Similarly, Abhinav Mingwal from Sahibabad, Uttar Pradesh, travelled to Kasol in the Parvati Valley on December 16, 2022. His last contact with his family occurred on December 31, after which they became increasingly concerned and filed a missing person report.

Other individuals, namely Vijay Jadeja and Kshitij Goel from Mumbai, as well as Priyanka Jain from Guwahati, also went missing under similar circumstances in Parvati Valley.

Justin Alexander went searching for higher meaning. Photo Credit: X

In 2015, the disappearance of 24-year-old Polish citizen Bruno Mushchalik received a lot of media attention.

One of the earliest cases of a missing foreigner dates back to August 1991, when Oddette Victoria Ann Houghton, an Australian national, went missing in the Manikaran Valley.

Why people disappearing In Parvati Valley?

Parvati Valley, with its enigmatic reputation for swallowing people, raises questions about the role of drug abuse, the search efforts of officials and the responsibility of thrill-seeking individuals themselves.

The Himalayas loom like vast and majestic giants, dwarfing humanity in comparison to the forces of nature. Challenging the natural order, succumbing to impulsive adrenaline rushes, hashish allure and treacherous pathfinding is nothing short of nonsense.

Travelling responsibly is paramount. Alexander Supertramp's life may be impressive, his escapades extraordinary, but his tragic death serves as a devastating reminder.

Malana is an ancient Indian village in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Photo Credit: Flickr/Vikram Singh

Missing person cases, including Kesternov Vladislov, Oddette Victoria Ann Houghton, Justin Alexander Shetler and Bruno Mushchalik, have left families devastated, and efforts to locate them often go unsuccessful.

Author Aditya Kant Sharma's novel ‘High On Kasol’, is based on mysterious stories about the disappearances of foreigners and India in Parvati Valley. The book delves into the alarming trend of drug trafficking and substance abuse that is plaguing the region, affecting the lives of young people.

Aditya Kant Sharma's book centers on the disappearance of an Israeli woman who discovers a drug syndicate, but falls victim to it herself.

The story highlights the connection between drug use and missing foreigners, with more than 20 foreigners going missing in the Kullu Valley in the past two decades.

According to Kant, in recent years more than 20 foreigners have disappeared in the Kullu Valley. Although concrete evidence is lacking, it is suspected that these disappearances are related to drug use. The valley's appeal to foreigners lies in its renowned 'hashish', known as magic cream or 'malana cream,'" Kant shared with Outlook in Shimla.

Is Parvati Valley safe?

Parvati Valley, known for its natural beauty, is not a safe place to visit. Recent government data has uncovered a worrying pattern of people going missing in this famous valley. In the past 20 years, from 2003 to 2023, a total of 1,078 people went missing in Parvati Valley, including 21 foreigners.

Mini Israel

Located in the enchanting Parvati Valley, Kasol, often referred to as the 'mini Israel' of Himachal Pradesh, is a captivating hill station situated approximately 42 km east of Kullu. Perched at an elevation of 1,640m, this picturesque destination attracts backpackers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts with its stunning valley, unspoiled mountains, and year-round pleasant climate.

Kasol serves as an ideal base for embarking on various treks including the SarPass, Yanker Pass, Pin Parbati Pass and Khiriganga, inviting adventure seekers to explore its unspoilt surroundings.

Over time, the influx of Israeli tourists has given rise to a flourishing variety of restaurants, hotels, and shops designed to meet your specific needs.

With a sizable Israeli population in the area, it's no surprise to find shop signs emblazoned with Hebrew script, while cafes and restaurants tempt visitors with a fusion of Israeli and local cuisine, presenting a delicious dining experience.

Drug menace in Himachal Pradesh

Former Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, now serving as Governor of Bihar, has authored a novel named after a village in Parvati Valley, delving into the prevalent drug trafficking and substance abuse affecting the youth in the hill state.

Arlekar has openly connected the drug issue with his home state of Goa, urging action to prevent the transformation of the sacred land into a hub of substance abuse. Local youths, grappling with unemployment, often turn to drug trafficking, subsequently falling into addiction themselves.

The novel highlights the emergence of 'Chitta,' a heroin derivative, as a significant threat. Additionally, it explores the acceptance of growing cannabis for charas production in Parvati Valley and nearby Malana, leading to a cycle of wealth and addiction among certain families.

The narrative also touches upon the disappearance of Polish national Bruno Mushchalik in 2015, drawing considerable media attention and sparking efforts by his father to locate him.

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