Lanka Challenge | Sunday Observer

Lanka Challenge

The self-drive  'Tuk-Tuk Challenge' gave  53 participants in 20 tuk-tuks, from 10 countries, an up close and personal experience of some of the most fascinating historical sites and views of this island

Despite the devastating events in Sri Lanka, the TukTuk Warriors successfully finished their 1000 km adventure around Sri Lanka on Saturday April 27 at Suriya Resort in Waikkal.

The group was camping in the middle of a forest in Mannar when the unfortunate incidents of last Sunday first occurred. Even though the group was shocked and saddened all the participants came together with the intention of completing the challenge as planned.

This year, Large Minority (www.largeminority.travel) in partnership with Connaissance de Ceylan, Sri Lankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Ministry of Tourism, organized the 14th edition of Lanka Challenge; this edition explored the wild and less travelled territory from Minuwangoda, Kalpitiya, Wilpattu, Mannar, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Sigiriya, Riverstone, Kandy and Waikkal. Participants rode approximately 150km per day over nine days and covered more than 1000km in total.

The self-drive Tuk-Tuk Challenge gave 53 participants in 20 tuk-tuks, from 10 countries, an up close and personal experience of some of the most fascinating historical sites and views of this island, all the while raising money for local charities, environmental organisations and above all not giving in to terror.

In this edition, the participants faced some unusual challenges from tasting the hottest chillies to selling fish at the local market to (probably the most comical for us locals) taking groceries to a random home in a village and getting the home dwellers to cook for them. Other challenges included, the elephant dung put shot challenge, memorizing Buddhist chants and offering flowers at a village temple. While still being fun, the tuk-tuk challenge offered participants a way of interacting with daily life in Sri Lanka.

It was important that The Lanka Challenge event was seen through to the end especially given the existing climate here in Sri Lanka, as the event supported local partners such as ‘the Red Cross Society of Sri Lanka’ and ‘Land Owners Restore Rainforest in Sri Lanka (LORRIS)’. A total of 10 percent of each team’s entry fee was given directly to charity partners. Julian Carnall said “Last year we collected over USD8,000 which was used for different charitable projects including donating textbooks, musical instruments and planting more than 200 indigenous trees to offset our carbon emissions. In 2019 we raised even more funds in Sri Lanka and were able to touch many more lives.

"We are grateful to this year’s brave participants and large minority who decided to stay and see their 1000km challenge through to its completion. A special mention must be given to the Police, Army and Ministry of Defence along with Connaissance de Ceylan and Sri Lanka Ministry of Tourism who went the extra mile to provide the additional infrastructure and security needed for our visitors complete their mission post-Easter Sunday attacks."

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