Drivers race to snow-covered Ganga Choti in AJK

Jeep rally provides precursor to adventure, tourism activities in AJK

MA Mir March 01, 2017

MUZAFFARABAD: Nearly two dozen jeeps made their way through snow, and over rocks as they raced towards the Ganga Choti in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

The jeeps were participating in a two-day snow-cross jeep rally organised by the AJK Tourism Department to promote adventure tourism in the area.

While not the first jeep rally in the region, it was the first on a new route set by the AJK government – part of their proposed tourism corridor.

Starting from February 25, around 20 jeeps drove through Saran in the scenic Jhelum valley towards Chakar, Sudhan Gali, Lasdana, Tolipeer and Deevi Gali of district Rawalakot before tackling the rugged, snow-covered terrains of Ganga Choti in Bagh.

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“The journey of crossing snow-covered hills while travelling in a jeep was a real adventure which I had not witnessed so far in my life,” said 35-year-old Fahad Mustafa, a participant of
the rally.

Another participant, Mansoor, said that he had been criss-crossing through the snow-covered Neelum Valley in a jeep for the last four years, but the track from Chakar to Lasdana and Deevi Gali was full of fun and adventure.

The race ended after drivers crossed the finishing point on Ganga Choti, 9,000 feet above sea level, on Sunday.

Tourism road

Addressing participants of the rally, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Tourism Department Secretary Mansoor Qadir Dar said that the government would construct a 132-kilometer road in the valley, specifically for boosting adventure tourism in the region.

The road would connect all four districts of AJK with each other through the tourist spots.

“Through such activities [snow rally] we want to explore new adventure tourism destinations from Chakar, Bagh, and Rawalakot districts for tourists and adventure loving people of the country,” Dar added.

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The official further said that the AJK Tourism Department was also exploring options to organise paragliding, white water rafting and other events in the area to promote tourism.

“We encourage the youth to participate in such healthy activities which would help bring them closer to nature.”

Dar said the government was mulling a proposed “Tourism Corridor” from Chakar, Bagh and Rawalakot in order to provide access to scenic landscapes, waterfalls, thick forests and pleasant atmosphere in these areas for tourists.

“Tourism Department has planned to establish resorts on this 132 kilometers track at every five to ten kilometres aimed to provide resting facilities to visitors in the area,” Dar added.

Later, Dar distributed certificates among the participants of the rally.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2017.          


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