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
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.