Kullu's reputation goes downhill as missing trekkers' number climbs

  • Dipender Manta, Hindustan Times, Kullu
  • Updated: Aug 30, 2015 22:48 IST

Internationally famed for its picturesque landscapes and panoramic views, Kullu district is gradually achieving infamy for trekkers going missing in its thick forests and deep gorges.

According to police data, since 1991, as many as 21 foreigners have lost their way while trekking in the hills of Parvati, Manikaran, Naggar and Manali areas, which attract thousands of foreign tourists every year. Of these while four were Australian and three American and Israeli nationals each, two each were from Switzerland and The Netherlands, and one each from Yugoslavia, Ireland, Britain, Canada, Russia and Italy.

The most recent case is of Poland national Bruno Muschalik, 24, who has been missing in the district's Parvati valley since August 9.

On Thursday, the youth's father arrived in the district to search for his missing son, who was last seen at Barshaini in Parvati valley before he embarked on a two-day trek.

Talking to HT, Kullu deputy superintendent of police Sanjay Sharma said a team comprising police personnel and local porters was engaged in the search operation since August 18, when the matter came to fore, but could not find any clue about Bruno's whereabouts.

"We have asked the Poland embassy to provide mobile phone details of the youth that could help find his last location before he went missing. The information will prove to be of big help in the search operation," he added.

According to police, Bruno arrived in Kullu district from Jammu and Kashmir on August 7 and stayed at a guest house in Manali. Thereafter, he moved to Kasol, before proceeding towards his trek near Barshaini in Parvati valley. But has been missing since.

He even updated details of his trip on Facebook and mentioned his trip to Manali and Manikaran, but has not posted any updates after August 9.

In wake of repeated incidents of foreign trekkers going missing in the district, the police department in 2013 had sent a proposal to the state government to provide satellite phones and global positioning system that would help police ensure the safe return of trekkers, who may lose their way.

According to a police official, landline as well as mobile phones often failed to work in the interior areas due to poor network. However, the proposal for satellite phones was still pending with the state government.

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