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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sixth leg of rally flagged off

"It was an adventure tourism with difference". That's how the participants of the 16 teams in the `Indian Autorickshaw Challenge-2006' described the event, just before they embarked on the sixth leg of the rally from Tuticorin to Courtallam on Saturday.

The eight-day rally constituted by 16 autorickshaws, which started from Chennai on August 21, reached Tuticorin on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, the Superintendent of Police John Nicholson flagged off the sixth leg of the rally here.

Of the 16 teams, only two belonged to India.

For Thessaly Chance, a danseuse from Asheville at North Carolina in the United States of America, who is on her second trip to India, the journey is providing a better insight into the culture and tradition of Tamil Nadu.

She came to know about the rally after landing in Chennai recently to attend Bharatanatyam classes and did not hesitate to book her seat in the rally.

She finds noticeable changes in the State for good since her last visit to the region in 1997. "Streets had become a bit cleaner, lesser number of beggars, no hand-drawn rickshaws and of course a more number of auto rickshaws," she said.

She said that the experiences during the rally in an auto rickshaw would be `translated' into a memoir, which would be published as a book.

Nicholas Gibbs, a freelance journalist based in London also has a plan to reproduce the `adventures' and `heroics' in leading dailies in England.

"It's indeed a thrilling experience to travel by an autorickshaw since it offered better view of the country side than by travelling in a closed car," he said.

Senthil Kumar, a differently abled person from Coimbatore was also a participant.

Some of autorickshaws were modified fabulously for the rally. The one driven by Pavel Smirov (Russia) and his team was fitted with a refrigerator and air coolers.

Ejji Umamahesh, organiser of the rally, said the revenue generated out of the rally through entry fees and sponsorships would be donated to a non-governmental organisation, which works towards prevention of child abuse.

Source: The Hindu

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