J&K CM flags off trekking expedition, first in 20 years
Mineguruji | 12 Apr 2008

J&K CM flags off trekking expedition, first in 20 years




As part of the ongoing fortnight long Jammu

Festival, the Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, flagged off Heritage

Trek Expedition from Mongri to Mantalai here this morning, describing

Jammu & Kashmir as a trekker's paradise.


As many as 35 trekkers are participating in the 7-day

expedition which is the first of the 35 such expeditions being

organised by the Youth Hostels Association of India, J&K Branch in

collaboration with the State Tourism department on this trek.


The expedition flagged off today also included foreign

trekkers besides some NRIs, apart from the State and different parts

of the country. The expedition will pass through Mongri, Nathatop,

Patnitop, Gaurikund and Sudhmahadev before culminating at Mantalai.

The trek offers fantastic view of heritage sites, meadows, lofty

mountains, thick deodar forests, gushing water springs, brooks and

scenic spots.

 Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that

Jammu & Kashmir is a trekkers' paradise which fascinates them so much

that they do not want to be detached from the scene. He said the State

is full of wonderful trekking routes especially in Ladakh that attract

foreign trekkers in large numbers. He said adventure tourism in the

State has a great potential and it is matter of pleasure that trekking

is receiving focused attention after a gap of two decades. He

complimented the Youth Hostels Association of India, especially its

President for reviving this adventure sport in the State.


The Chief Minister welcomed blending of the trekking expeditions with

the 15-day Jammu Festival, adding it will further promote tourism

activities in Jammu province. He said this year the annual Jammu

Festival has been extended from three days to fifteen days. The mega

event, he added, has also been extended to the entire province instead

of being limited to the capital city or, at the most, to district

Jammu. He said many events have been added to the festival this year,

making it very successful.

In his address, M. S. Pandit described the flagging of the expedition

as a momentous occasion. He said the trekking expedition was revived

after 20 years. He gave a brief history of the trekking initiative

taken by the Youth Hostels Association of India with which he is

associated since 1976 when these expeditions in the State were started

from Doda. He also dwelt on the movement of Youth Hostels and said

that there are 4500 youth hostels across the globe.

Earlier, the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu spoke about the ongoing

Jammu Festival. He said this year many organizations have been roped

in to make the Jammu Festival a major success. He said the trekking

expedition launched today is very significant as it combines

education, integration and exposure to local culture and heritage.