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Pune man to cycle from Kashmir to Kkanyakumari to testify Valley as ‘safe tourist destination’

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Srinagar, In a bid to refurbish the Valley’s image as a safe tourist destination, a Maharashtra native began Tuesday a 4,000 km-long, Kashmir to Kanyakumari cycling expedition from here.

Tourism Kashmir Director Tasaduq Jeelani flagged off cyclist Vivek Lokur’s expedition at Tourist Reception Centre here, hailing him as “ambassador of Kashmir tourism”.

Lokur, a Pune resident, said he decided to choose Srinagar as his starting point to spread the massage that it is completely safe for tourists to visit Kashmir.

“I have been planning this expedition for long and thinking of starting it from Kashmir as this place is unique and beautiful, and it would give me the right vigour for the journey ahead,” he said.

Working for a private insurance firm, Lokur said he realised how media portrays Kashmir negatively, after he spent a few days here before starting his journey.

“Whatever media portrays about Kashmir is totally untrue. I have found this place more safe than any part of the country and it’s the most beautiful place not only in India, but in the whole world,” he said.

The cyclist said people should visit the Valley to see for themselves how hospitable the people are here.

“I have found people here eager to meet you, spend quality time with you and make you feel at home — a fact I found nowhere else. Any service provider treats a tourist as a valued guest here,” he said.

During his 12-day expedition, Lokur would travel through eight states.

He had earlier paddled 1,500 kilometers in the United Kingdom on his cycling expedition.

The Kashmir Tourism director said Lokur would be a Kashmir tourism ambassador, promoting the Valley as a safe tourist destination across the country while paddling across its entire length.

“We welcome such sports enthusiasts here and we will provide all help to them to facilitate their expeditions,” said Jeelani.

He said Kashmir is known for adventure sports activities and many travellers visit Kashmir for mountain biking and other adventurous activities.

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