STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: J&K Bank Chairman and CEO Parvez Ahmed and Commissioner Secretary Tourism, M.H Malik on Wednesday flagged off the first leg of Expedition India – Srinagar/ Sonamarg/Leh Race -2017 from Shankaracharya Top here in presence of Director Tourism Mehmood Shah, organisers of the expedition Stephan Muller, Heidi Muller and other officers of the bank and Tourism Department.
Out of 22 teams participating in the adventure race, nine teams are from across the country while as the rest are foreign teams mainly from South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Argentina and Czech Republic. The second leg of the expedition is scheduled to be kicked off from Sonamarg on September 15, and the third and major leg of the race will be conducted in Leh from September 20 to 22.
The teams comprising of four members each shall be undertaking various adventure sports activities including racing, boating, water-rafting, cycling, zip line and mountain biking. The only Kashmiri team to participate in the expedition is J and K Mountaineering and Hiking.
A day earlier, the Expedition India Adventure Race – 2017 was inaugurated in a grand function organised at SKICC Srinagar wherein MoS for Tourism, Technical Education Priya Sethi, Chairman and CEO J&K Bank Parvez Ahmed, Commissioner Secretary Tourism, M.H Malik and Director Tourism Mehmood Shah besides organizers of the event, participating teams and media personnel were present.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman and CEO Parvez Ahmed said, “The bank decided to partner the event as an endeavour to boost adventure tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. Sponsoring such events in coordination with the State’s Tourism Department forms part of the measures to bring the least known but most beautiful places and spots on the tourist maps of this region.”
Later, in her address at SKICC auditorium, Priya Sethi welcomed the participating teams and urged them to experience both natural and human beauty of this place.
“This region has a great tradition of hospitality. I hope all of you will enjoy the expedition in this part of our world and take with you the cherishing memories of adventure, affection and spiritual fulfilment”, she said.
“On this occasion, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to both Stephan and Heidi, who are an amazing couple with wonderful spirit, for selecting J and K for this adventure race. I also appreciate the role and support from J&K Tourism Kashmir in making this event a reality and extend my best wishes for the participating teams, both national and foreign, for taking part in this event”, he added.
The main organiser of the expedition, Heidi Miller said, “With this expedition we want to showcase the beauty of Jammu and Kashmir to the entire world. We also want to explore the exotic destinations of J&K for all the adventurists-at-heart around the globe”.
Earlier in his welcome address, Director Tourism Mehmood Shah expressed concerns over the negative advisories by different embassies.
On the occasion, the organizers presented mementoes to the sponsors, participating teams besides those who volunteered their services for the expedition that began today and will conclude on September 22, in Leh, Ladakh.
Notably, a live musical performance by local artists was also organized at the auditorium in the inaugural ceremony.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper