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Mysterious disappearances in India’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’

When Dhruv Agarwal, 32, called his family on 9/11 last year, he was very excited.

He finally reached the enchanting Parvati Valley in northern India after a long bus ride from New Delhi. Agarwal wanted to share with his family the beautiful view of the valley surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas.

“She panned the phone from side to side and was happy to show us the scenery.”Manica – Agarwal’s sister recalls.

But when Agarwal suddenly bent down as if picking up something, the call was suddenly disconnected.

That was the last time the family contacted Agarwal. Since then, the 32-year-old man has disappeared without leaving any trace.

Valley of death

Dozens of mysterious disappearances like Agarwal have been recorded in Parvati. Most of these are foreign tourists who went missing while visiting the valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

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Parvati valley is known as India’s Bermuda Triangle” or “valley of death”. (Photo: SCMP)

This has earned Parvati the nickname “India’s Bermuda Triangle” or “valley of death”.

There are no official statistics, but Indian media say at least 21 tourists have gone missing here over the past three decades. Locals claim that the real number is much higher than that.

Before Agarwal, a case that also caused a stir was Justin Alexander, an American tourist who disappeared in 2016 while walking down Lake Mantalai.

Currently, the walls of government buildings and public toilets in the streets around Parvati are plastered with posters searching for the missing.

Despite the mysterious disappearances, tourists still come to Parvati. Partly its majestic beauty, partly out of curiosity, says Aditya Kant, author of the book set in the Parvati Valley.

“Most people come here after hearing about a ‘high quality’ stimulant that is very popular in this valley and are curious to try it. Plus, the scenery is so beautiful that the valley is so beautiful. This valley is often referred to as miniature Switzerland.said Kant.

The stimulant Kant was referring to was Malana cream, an expensive, locally grown cannabis resin. People here consider Malana ice cream to be a miracle herb, while many tourists see it as a way to “relieve the soul”.

“In the late 1980s, Israeli tourists began to flock here at a time when there were not many Indian tourists coming to the place and the drug trade was booming. This influx of people gradually turned the valley into a popular destination for foreign tourists.”Kant said.


But also many tourists come here to enjoy stillness and solitude.

Abhishek – Agarwal’s brother says his brother is such a tourist.

Adding to the murky and mysterious nature of this valley is its topography. The upper part of the valley has no road for motor vehicles. The only way to get there is by foot through the forest, usually along narrow paths that zigzag up high mountain slopes.

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Justin Alexander (left) is one of the tourists who went missing while visiting Parvati. (Photo: Outsideonline)

Local climbing experts often work together to search for missing people.

“This valley is dangerous because the slopes narrow as you climb up,” Manu Mahajan, a mountaineer with the Himalayan Rescue Association.

Mahajan engaged in various quests over the years. Often, success means finding the remains of a dead person.

“There are very dangerous spots. There, with just a small mistake you will fall into the Parvati River from a height of thousands of meters.” he said.

At the local police station, which overlooks the vast valley, police said it was unwise for Agarwal to go to the valley alone.

“His family told us that they had never hiked before. Tourists must be responsible for themselves and should be accompanied by a local guide and porter. They should not risk a single trip. me”, a policeman said.

Meanwhile, Agarwal’s family criticized the local police’s superficial investigation.

“Even CCTV footage shows Agarwal entering a store, buying winter clothes that we got from the store, not the police.” Manica, Agarwal’s older sister shared.

Currently, Agarwal’s family is still trying to find him. They hire a private rescue team, organize social media campaigns.

More than two months after Agarwal went missing, his family received calls from two hikers who had been to Parvati. They said they had seen posters about the Agarwal case on social media and wanted to help.

The two said that when going to Parvati to explore, they encountered a group of young women trying to “seduce” male tourists to walk alone in the mountains. One of them said they took something the group gave them and didn’t remember anything when they woke up three days later.

“They told us that this group of girls is always stalking male tourists alone,” Manica said.

To Manica and the rest of the family, the explanation seems plausible.

At the time of his disappearance, Agarwal was alone, carrying cash and bank cards.

“My brother trusts people very easily. Maybe they did something similar to him,” Manica said.

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