Drugs over weather: Has focus of Kullu tourism changed ?

Known as the valley of gods, Kullu lying on the banks of river Beas is a mystical valley that lures tourist’s for its scenic views, snow covered mountains, rivers, and for its cool refreshing weather that make it one of the most attractive valleys of the country.

The villages of Old Manali, Vashisht, Kasol, Malana and Tosh have been a favourite with honeymooners and young tourists not just for the ravishing views but also for the easy availability of drugs.
Illegal cultivation of marijuana (charas) and opium in parts of Kullu valley has turned it into a hub of drug dealers who freely sell hashish, marijuana, smack, cocaine and other narcotics to residents, tourist and visiting foreigners.

marijuana-bushes
Cool climes or marijuana ?

Kasol village or Parvati valley of Kullu has come to be known as Mini Israel or Little Tel Aviv because of the large number of Israeli tourists, mainly young men and women who visit the place every year. In fact due to increasing numbers of foreign tourists with Israeli nationality visiting Kasol and Parvati valley, the villagers have even made an adjustment to their life style and culture only for running business according to the tourists demands.

Israelis have been frequent visitors to this place and have made this village as their permanent home. Beyond the beauty of the place, easy availability of drugs, especially high quality marijuana, is believed to be driving most foreigners to Kasol.

A drastic change is being noticed in an otherwise peaceful valley where simple local traditions are giving way to a hub for hippie culture, with holding of moonlit rave parties offering liquor, banned drugs and even sex.

The tourists have candid support from the local residents as more numbers only increase business volumes in season time. This has led to a rise in arrest of foreign nationalists travelling with heavy amount of charas and other narcotics from Kullu valley to other parts of the country and even abroad.

For the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, tourism is of much importance but in all this boom is it the natural beauty which attracts the tourists or is it drug tourism that is having a negative impact on the rich heritage of Kullu valley.

Sonali, a native of Bajaura, Kullu is pursuing a bachelor's course in journalism from Indraprastha University, Delhi. As part of her course, she is doing an internship with Hill Post

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