The Great Karnali Quest: A Record-Breaking Rafting Race Organized
KATHMANDU, Sep 29:Nepal is gearing up to host an extraordinary event, The Great Karnali Quest (TGKQ), which is poised to make waves on the global adventure tourism stage. It is the longest rafting race in the world, spanning 248 kilometers through the picturesque Karnali region. The major organizer of this event is the Nepal Association of Rafting Agencies (NARA).
Coordinator Megh Ale conveyed a range of crucial details during his address. He mentioned that Karnali stands as Nepal's most pristine and solitary free-flowing river, serving as the focal point of their recent expedition. The expedition aimed to spotlight the river's religious and cultural significance, uniting the Khas and Ganga civilizations. Scientists and religious experts were brought in to emphasize its importance, with a study affirming it as the most well-preserved river in Nepal.
Regarding the race logistics, Ale outlined a demanding stage run of 38–56 kilometers per day, with strategic stops before the rapids for scouting. He explained that the winner would be determined by calculating the completion times of each stage. Notably, the Ministry of Tourism, NTB, and various private enterprises are providing vital support to establish this prestigious world record.
In terms of logistics, Ale described an expedition-style approach, commencing on November 19 with the arrival of all participating teams. Each team will assume responsibility for their logistical needs, encompassing tents, food, and other essentials. He underscored the importance of the $23,000 total prize fund, with the first-place team enjoying complimentary accommodations and entry, while the second-place team benefits from a significant discount. Several companies are actively seeking sponsorship opportunities, with plans to make this an annual event. Ale emphasized that the primary goal is destination promotion, with no immediate commercial benefits for the organizing company.
Furthermore, Ale highlighted that a comprehensive package will be made available for race spectators, drawing inspiration from similar events like the Amazon Raft Race, which is currently holding the world record at 180 kilometers. The Great Karnali Quest aims to surpass this record, serving as a monumental promotional campaign for Nepal. While other adventure races have taken place, this extensive and specialized raft racing event is a world’s first. Ale expressed a desire to invite policymakers, institutions, and other key stakeholders to participate and support this endeavor.
Ganga Prasad Nepal, Former President of NARA, stated, "It's the longest rafting race in the world, with participants from an international audience." His words capture the essence of this event, which starts with registration on November 19, 2023. The race encompasses three provinces and features five camps. It will include six cultural activities in Rakam Karnali Village, along with a cultural symposium. The first race day is on November 25 and concludes at Daulatpur Ghat on November 28.
At the heart of this endeavor is the Karnali River, which originates from the sacred Kailash Mountain. Whitewater rafting enthusiasts from around the world will navigate its challenging waters, making it a core element of TGKQ.
The global appeal of The Great Karnali Quest is undeniable, with teams from across the world eager to participate. Confirmed teams include two from Nepal, one from the United States, two from India, one from China, and a Brazilian team seeking support. Negotiations are also underway with teams from New Zealand and France, promising a diverse and competitive field.
Support for the event extends to the highest levels of government, with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation taking keen interest and offering their endorsement through official letters. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also shown its support for this ambitious venture. While budget discussions are ongoing, multiple provinces, municipalities, and Village Development Committees (VDCs) have expressed their commitment to providing financial backing.
The journey to make TGKQ a reality has been marked by challenges, including delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as November approaches, organizers are fully prepared to finally launch the race. This operation has key figures, including Megh Ale, TGKQ Coordinator, Radhesh Panta, Chairman of the Karnali Bheri Conservation Foundation (KBCF), and many other skilled professionals as a part of the organization team.
The Great Karnali Quest is more than just a race; it symbolizes human resilience, international cooperation, and the spirit of adventure. As Nepal prepares to welcome teams from around the world to its rugged and enchanting Karnali region, the world watches in anticipation, ready to witness history being made on the waters of Karnali.