Treading through unpaved, steep inclines and challenging roads, a couple leads adventure motor-sport ‘Kashmir Off-Road’ to explore new places, culture, people, and landscapes across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The founder of the expedition, Ali Sajid told Rising Kashmir "exploring new, obscure, or lesser known locations, landscapes, cultures, and cuisine is the point of travel.”
He said, "For more than 17 years, our passion has been off-roading and overlanding. Before coming home to India in 2016, we took a number of incredible road trips around the globe. I simultaneously experienced the exhilaration of taking some of the most extreme and hazardous roads.”
This devotion led to the creation of ‘Kashmir Off Road’. “Returning to India and to our ancestral home in Kashmir gave us the chance to travel to some of the most stunning and uncharted regions of the western Himalayas,” he added.
After returning to Kashmir in 2016, Sajid wanted to do his bit to do something positive to change the general perception of Kashmir and encourage people to visit the beautiful valley. “So we started documenting and sharing our journeys with people around the world through our social media pages.”
With motorsport and overland ‘Kashmir Off-Road’ is trying to make a difference in Kashmir by involving like-minded people and also promoting motorsport at the grass-root level by encouraging youth to take up the sport.
The ‘Kashmir Off-Road’ has so far explored numerous off-beat destinations around Kashmir. “The travellers were the first ones to extensively travel to Gurez back in 2017, and since then the place has seen some serious tourism,” Sajid said.
The Off-Road works closely with the administration especially with the tourism department in promoting unknown tourist destinations to create sustainable tourism opportunities and livelihood for locals.
“We have been actively working on border tourism in North Kashmir this year while cooperating closely with the J&K Forest department. By incorporating local populations in remote locations, we have been actively promoting eco-tourism, and home-stays and championing sustainable tourism practices.”
Farah Zaidi, co-founder of ‘Kashmir Off Road’ explained that Kashmir is heaven for overlanding and off-roading.
Kashmir is virtually undiscovered, making it a traveller's delight. For those who want to explore different cultures, people, and their cuisines, Kashmir is the perfect destination, Zaidi said, adding each of the four seasons offers a distinctive vacation opportunity.
“ In the future, we would like to continue with our endeavour to explore and promote lesser-known destinations in Kashmir and also involve local communities and promote home-stay culture across Kashmir,” She said.
She said they are actively collaborating with local groups to promote the idea of home-stays in outlying locations.
“Our adventures include real interactions, true cross-cultural learning, true exploration, and thrilling off-road driving experiences. During the expeditions, participants are urged to cooperate as a team and are assigned specific duties,” she said.
"We would like to see the youth getting engaged in the competitive motorsport which we are also promoting. Many youngsters are taking part in competitive events not only in Kashmir but participating in events outside Kashmir too," Zaidi added.