Get in a tuk tuk, give to the society (Auto Rickshaw Challenge)

















The thought of taking the auto to work today may faze you, but you won’t be thinking twice before jumping behind the wheel of one at the Auto Rickshaw challenge.

With the promise of fun, adventure and a culinary tour like none other, the Rickshaw Challenge comes to Chennai for the sixth year — minus the quintessential auto anna!

Started to cater to adventure, the Rickshaw Challenge has put Chennai on the world map of adventure tourism. Says Aravind Bremanandam, the brain behind the enterprise, “This year we have 33 participants from nearly nine countries. The participants are a cross-section of society — from students, businessmen and nurses, we have a diverse lot participating. In the past few years the event has come to be a cultural gala that is about adventure, discovery, vacation and social giving.”

The Rickshaw Challenge has so far raised 80,000 US dollars and has been giving back to the Round Table of India for the last six years.

This year, participants of the Rickshaw Challenge will race their autos across a distance of 950 km, between Chennai to Poovar in Kerala.

In the course of their journey, the participants will get to sample the gamut of cultures and cuisines that comprise south India.

“The challenge is quite like any other,” says Aravind. “Points are given for being crazy and unconventional,” he adds.

While motorsport aficionados can’t wait for the challenge to kick-off today, a number of organisations have attached themselves to the event in support of fun and adventure.

One such is Burgundy, where the opening night for participants and the public is being organised. Says Vipin Sachdev of Burgundy, “I think the idea is funky and if there are sporting events for all kinds of motors, why not autos too! This is a great opportunity for foreigners to sample south India and it certainly puts Chennai on the world map.”

The event will draw to a close on January 7, 2012, after seeing participation from nearly 25 teams. A testimonial from James Stackhouse on the challenge’s official site, certainly sums up the adventure that is up for grabs.

“No other means of transport other than India’s Auto Rickshaw allows you such an intimate insight into this fascinating country, culture and customs and direct access to one of the world’s most friendly people. The Rickshaw Challenge is probably most stupid, nonsensical, insane thing you will do in your life, but definitely the most fun,” he says. Amen that!

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