ZEE5 Original Film Yaara Gives A Glimpse Of The Indian Hippie Trail From The 1970s

The famous route once travelled by The Beatles, was a hotbed of hippies and drug smugglers as seen in upcoming film Yaara.

Kenneth Carneiro

August 5, 2020


4 min


The story of Yaara focuses on the story of the Chaukadi Gang which includes Vidyut Jammwal, Amit Sadh, Vijay Verma and Kenny Basumatary. This fictional gang is shown to be highly successful in the mid-70s operating between Delhi and Nepal through UP. Their main money-making rackets were gun-running, smuggling drugs, robbery and looting. This route between Delhi and Kathmandu was a popular route for backpackers and hippies from the 1950s to 1970 and was part of an iconic ‘Hippie Trail’ that was also travelled by The Beatles!

Watch a glimpse of the hippie culture seen in the trailer of Yaara.

The Hippie Trail is a distant dream right now and it flourished at a time when the borders of countries were laxer and countries were less ravaged by war and internal conflicts. This road route remarkably connected London to Kathmandu and even went all the way to Dhaka. Visas were easily available upon arriving at the border of the countries and for British residents, a long-term visa was not even required to stay in India. Eventually, another way to going on the hippie trail began being referred to as ‘going to India’

This route saw hordes of youngsters from Europe and America looking for enlightenment and of course the best drugs. This tour began immensely popular after ‘The Beatles’ visited India in 1968. The real hippie trail for drug-laden adventures began in Afghanistan which was once the most popular spots for Marijuana and smuggling of other drugs. It then went on from Manali to Delhi, Varanasi and went further on the way to Kathmandu or going southwards towards Goa.

In classic hippie fashion, they came in groups on a ‘Magic Bus’ which was a tour popular tour company in Amsterdam that organised these tours. However, everything is not as hunky-dory as it sounds. With such a massive lack of rules and regulations and heavy demand for drugs, gangs of drug smugglers and looters ran amok. One of the most famous serial killers ‘Charles Sobhraj’ found most of his victims on these trails.

Unlike today’s tourists who prefer to see popular sights, the backpackers on the Hippie trail usually assimilated with the culture they came across. While this might seem favourable, not many people were open to foreign influence and strangers trying to become part of their culture.

This unique era began a quick decline when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and shut down that route. Further tensions in Kashmir and the Emergency Era kept the backpackers away from India too. In America, the heavy crackdown or ‘War on Drugs’ by Ex-President Nixon killed drug smuggling rackets along this route too.

Watch a glimpse of this interesting and flawed era in the Tigmanshu Dhulia film ‘Yaara’ on ZEE5.

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