English Release 7-March 2014
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Ministry of External Affairs20-March, 2007 20:39 IST
|SAARC Car Rally completes Bhutan leg on day six
HILLY TERRAIN TESTS RALLYISTS’ DRIVING SKILLS
|After a rather easy run in Bangladesh, the over one hundred odd participants of the non-competitive SAARC Car Rally got a taste of real rally driving on day 6 as they negotiated the treacherous hill terrain while driving from Thimpu to Gelephu (Indo-Bhutan border) today. Running behind schedule, ace rallyists including five-time national champion Hari Singh, Col. K S Chauhan, Hormazd Sorabjee, Renuka Kriplani and others put their driving skills to good use as the rally raced through picturesque Bhutanese countryside, trying to make up for the time lost at numerous unscheduled stops while accepting the warm greetings of cheering crowds. With the road turning into a dirt-track at many stretches, the media persons in the rally had a first-hand experience of the rigour, precision and the thrill of rally driving. It also was a test of sorts for the convoy of Indian-bred Tata Safaris, which they passed of course in flying colours.
Earlier, the rally vehicles assembled at the Thimpu clock tower in the morning, which is something like the city-centre, for the formal flag off. The importance that Royal Govt. of Bhutan has accorded to the rally can be gauged from the fact that the Prime Minister of Bhutan, H. E. Mr. Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk himself was there to address and flag-off the rally participants. He asserted that the rally has accelerated the process of people-to-people contact between SAARC countries like never before. He hoped that the media representatives in the rally would share their experience of Bhutan with their countrymen.
The first stop after the send-off was at Dochula pass which offered a breath-taking view of the snow-capped mountains. After this, the convoy headed for the majestic Punakha Fort that is built at the confluence of two rivers. Lunch halt was at Tsirang. After covering a distance of about 280 km, the rally arrived at the Indo-Bhutan border town of Gelephu in the evening. Tomorrow, the convoy will enter India and head for Guwahati.
For most of the rally participants, it was their first visit to Bhutan, and therefore an eye-opener. The first thing that catches one’s attention is the extremely polite and pleasant nature of the Bhutanese people. With no traffic lights and pleasant weather, the capital city of Thimpu seems so much at peace with itself. Crime is almost non-existent and the people are very affectionate. The medium of instruction in schools is English and therefore, all Bhutanese understand and speak English. The room tarrifs are affordable and Indian food (as well as TV serials) is very popular. Such has been the experience of all rally participants that everybody wanted to stay at Thimpu for a few more days.
(Release ID :26262)