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Pioneering Through Motor-Sport, Kashmir Off Road Carves Niche In J&K Adventure Tourism

In an interview with BW Applause and Everything Experiential, Ali Sajid and Farah Zaidi, Co-Founders, Kashmir Off Road, spoke about the promise that this venture holds and more.

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Kashmir Off Road, established in 2017, is one of its kind of IPs that was started to develop and promote motor-sport and overland travel in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond. Kashmir Off Road has been trying to make a positive difference in the valley, and at the same time providing a platform for youngsters to take up the sport.  

In an interview with BW Applause and Everything Experiential, Ali Sajid and Farah Zaidi, Co-Founders, Kashmir Off Road, spoke about the promise that this venture holds and more. 

BW: What motivated you to start a venture like Kashmir Off Road? 

Ali Sajid- Overlanding and off-road adventure has been my passion for over 17 years. Before returning to India in 2016, I have been on many unforgettable journeys around the world by road. Exploring some of the remotest places, cultures, food and at the same time, experienced the thrill of driving on some of the most dangerous and extreme routes. Kashmir Off Road was born because of this passion. Coming back to India and to my roots in Kashmir, offered an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful and unseen places in the western part of the Himalayas.

Farah Zaidi- We wanted to do our bit, do something positive to change the general perception about 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 motor-sport and overland, we are 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.

BW:  What are the reasons you chose Kashmir as a location? 

Ali Sajid- We, as an outfit, are based out of Kashmir with offices in Delhi. But we are not only restricted to Kashmir. We have extensively travelled across Jammu and Kashmir and explored Ladakh as well. We even conducted an expedition to Bhutan. And last year one of our expeditions to the Arctic in Russia got cancelled due to COVID-19.

Farah Zaidi- Kashmir is an ideal place for Overlanding. And after having returned to India and planning to settle in Delhi, and then eventually shifting base to Kashmir was more like a calling for us. Being in the mountains is so calm and peaceful with an additional incentive of exploring a new place whenever we feel like it.

BW: Tell us about your journey since you first event. 

Ali Sajid- Our first event, a snow off-road competition, was also the country’s first-ever such event, which was held in Gulmarg back in 2017. The event received an overwhelming response for participation and garnered extensive media coverage. It is now an annual event and remains the only off road snow competition in India. We have also conducted other 4x4 events, overland expeditions and also conduct Kashmir’s only Vintage car and bike show, which also is an annual event.

BW: Do you think there is scope for overland and motorsport in regions like Kashmir?

Farah Zaidi- Kashmir is largely unexplored, and hence an overlander’s paradise. Kashmir is an ideal place for those who would like to take the road less travelled, experience new cultures, its people and cuisine. And most of all four seasons provide a unique travel experience.

Ali Sajid- Motor-sport holds a lot of potential especially for cross-country rally events. We are also encouraging the youth to take up the sport and provide training to the talented. Some of our young members have already won at national and international motor-sporting events. 

BW: Do you face any difficulties, while organizing such events in Kashmir and are able to get good sponsors?

Ali Sajid- As far as organising events, it has not been a problem though. We have organized some very successful events. Getting sponsorships on the other hand gets a bit challenging especially in J&K. But yes, bigger sponsors mean bigger events. Our events have always been garnered a lot of press and media coverage and for sponsors, ROI has been significant. Some of our events have the potential to become India’s premier motor-sporting events provided that we get good sponsors.


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Ali Sajid Farah Zaidi Co-founders Kashmir Off Road

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