Lucknow: With a view to developing tourism arc and promoting the ambitious lion safari in the home town of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the annual Taj Agra Car Rally will be flagged off from Etawah tomorrow.
The annual event held in Agra in recent years is considered as the curtain raiser of the Taj Mahotsav and this time it has been brought to the home district of the chief minister where the much talked about lion safari project of the state government is coming up.
The rally will cover 450 km, navigating through the scenic beauty and uneven terrain of the Chambal ravines, patron of the organisers, Agra Motorsports Club, Harbhajan Vahie said.
"Though the distance between Agra and Etawah is just 15O km and it also has some very interesting tourist spots, it has by and large remained neglected on the tourism map of the state," he said, adding this rally is an opportunity to showcase the tourism potential of the area.
"There is a Chambal safari lodge in Jarar area which is a famous weekend getaway from Delhi and remains jam packed always," he said.
Though the organisers this time are not expecting foreign participants in the rally, they hope its successful organisation and proper publicity will help different tour organisers of Agra to bring them from next year.
The rally held in Agra in the earlier years had received rave reviews from the participants and it had also been linked to the Taj Mahotsav held annually from February 18-27, marking the informal end of tourist season in Agra.
According to official sources it was on the initiative of the Chief Minister that the starting point of the rally was shifted to Etawah for using this opportunity to promote lion safari project being run in the ravines of the region.
Akhilesh Yadav on coming to power in 2012 had revived the lion safari project started by his father and Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav when he was the Chief Minister.
It was, however, put on hold by the Mayawati government which succeeded Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Last year, the tourism department decided to develop tourism arc of Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi to bring the state on international tourist map by developing tourism infrastructure in this area. Etawah falls in this arc.