BENGALURU: A city-based travel agency is looking to raise Rs 15 lakhs to entertain soldiers posted in Ladakh. The event, called Call of the Mountains, is being planned for three days, starting July 29, August 2 and August 4. The agency, Go Magic Trails, will organise performances at three different venues, including Kargil.
Artistes such as Dr Prakash Sontakke and team, and Col VD Singh and Uttam Chatterji are on the tentative list drawn out by the organisers.
Ulhaas Reddy, who heads the sales and marketing team at the agency, says that the main challenge faced while organising this event was in getting sponsorships. Even on the crowdfunding page, the team has raised only a little over Rs 1,000 (when this edition goes to print).
Then there is the red tape. “This is the first time a startup tourism company is hosting a programme at high altitude for the Indian Army,” says Ulhaas. “There are procedural challenges such as getting security clearances for all artists, logistical challenges such as finding the right sound equipment in a place like Leh, ensuring there are no wrinkles in the organising of the event and fervently praying that the weather remains good and flights land on time during the days of the concerts.”
Soldiers’ favourite form of entertainment is music and movies, says Ulhaas. They pass their free time playing sports, in the evenings, and with television and social media otherwise.
Ulhaas says that the idea of taking entertainment to Armed Forces occured to the founders of the startup because they come from an army background. Uma Sudhindra and Sonia Sahrawat opened this agency last year.
Go Magic Trails works with Army veterans to map out unique trails, under Military Tourism. “Our most popular tours include visiting the battleground, memorial and museum in Dras and Kargil, RD Zero in Ladakh where POK begins, Bum La in Arunachal Pradesh where we share the border with Chinese, Moirang in Manipur where there is a lovely INA Museum is there, parts of Rann of Kutch where we fought in 1965 and, ofcourse, the Wagah Border,” he says. “The Naval Museum and the Submarine Museum in Vishakapatnam is another important part of the tour when people visit the southern city.”
Clearances are not much a trouble because most locations are open to public.