A Park Slope yoga teacher and Sikh activist who disappeared during a solo hike near a yoga retreat in Mexico died, apparently from a head injury suffered when he fell into a gorge, according to his family and friends.
A search team found the body of Hari Simran, 25, on Friday afternoon, more than 72 hours after he left the retreat for a short hike in the mountains above Tepoztlan, a town an hour from Mexico City. His body was just a few hundred feet from the summit he had originally intended to climb, from which he sent a photo of himself to his wife Ad Purkh.
His loved ones said they are devastated by his death.
“This journey has been a testament to the enormous amount of love and goodness he shared with us all during his time on earth,” his family wrote in a message on the website they made to publicize the search. “His last picture said, ‘Looking down on you.’ We know he is an angel in the heavens now looking down on all of us.”
Simran left the retreat with a liter of water, a pocketknife, and a small amount of granola, his father told ABC 7. He sent the first photo from the summit at 12:30 pm, then sent another message at 2:20 pm that read, “I accidentally summited another mountain. Looks like I’ll be a little later coming back :). Save me some lunch if you can,” according to a fund-raiser website.
An hour later, the site said he indicated to a friend that he was lost.
“I’ll get back to you on that. I’m on top of a really high mountain in Mexico and I’m not exactly sure how to get down :)” he wrote, according to the site.
Simran’s friends and family had been frantically trying to supplement the Mexican government’s search with private helicopters and drones, and raised nearly $100,000 online to aid the rescue effort.
His friend Prabhjit Sing said Mexican state rescuers lacked the tools and training to search at night or with helicopters.
Simran was born and lived most of his life in Park Slope. He moved to Virginia a year ago, and ran a yoga center there with his wife, according to a website run by supporters, but he was in the process of moving back to Brooklyn, Singh said. He was also a community organizer with the Sikh Coalition, a Sikh-rights advocacy group.He is survived by his wife, who lives in Sterling, Virginia, and his parents, who live in Park Slope.
Memorials were scheduled to take place on Friday night in Virginia and New Mexico, according to supporters.
Lonely Planet describes Tepoztlan as “a mecca for New Agers who believe the area has a creative energy.”