Jammu and Kashmir promotes tourism through bike rally

Bhadarwah: A group of 24 cyclists including three women Sunday reached here as part of a Mountain Terrain Bicycle (MTB) rally aimed at promoting adventure tourism and sports in Bhadarwah-Bani-Basholi (B-3) circuit in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

The cyclists, hailing from different parts of the country, were flagged off by Director Tourism Jammu Om Prakash Bhagat from Basholi in Kathua district on Saturday. Scheduled to cover the 160-km long route in B-3 circuit, the rally was a joint venture of Tourism department, Bhadarwah Development Authority (BDA) and Lakhanpur Sarthal Development Authority (LSDA), the officials said.

Besides five bikers from Kashmir and Jammu regions, the other participants were have come from Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkatta, Banglore, Pune, Mumbai and Kerala. The rally, first of its kind in this circuit, reached 13,400 feet high Chattar-Gali pass Sunday afternoon after a night halt at Bani valley, the officials said, adding the biking enthusiasts will tour different high altitude destinations of Bhadarwah on Monday.

"These bikers will help in promoting the untapped and unexplored adventure tourism potential of Chenab valley region especially that of virgin B3 circuit," Chief Executive Officer, Bhadarwah Development Authority, Rajinder Prasad Khajuria who received the cyclists at Bhaderwah said. He said the tourism department has formed a joint strategy with BDA and LSDA and is trying to make B-3, as the hub of adventure tourism.

"I have been a biker since long but this is the best ever ride of my life. The state Tourism department has given us this wonderful opportunity to explore this heavenly route, far from the scorching heat of the plains," 35-year-old Ajeet Singh of Chandigarh told PTI. Praising the beauty of the region, another participant Mahesh Kumar (21) of Delhi said people should visit the place at least once in his or her lifetime.

"We are having a wonderful experience and every biker will love to explore this kind of locale. This place is heaven for MTB riders and I think every adventure lover should come to this part as well," he said. Rajesh Raina, an officer in the tourism department, said it was heart-warming to see the participation of bikers, especially the young ones.

"This will go a long way to build a positive image of our state and will surely attract tourists, especially adventure enthusiasts, as this part of the state is a safe haven," Raina said. District Development Commissioner, Doda,  Sagar Dattaray Doifode distributed trophies and citation certificates among the participants. He said it is heartening to note that the town with its picturesque surroundings, high altitude meadows and snow filled glaciers has off late become a major tourist attraction.

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