Did you know that it's possible for you to drive an auto rickshaw across India? Known as the Rickshaw Challenge, Chennai Event Management Services operates around four of these madcap events a year. They're an hilarious, extraordinary way of experiencing India and seeing the Indian countryside, while contributing to charity as well.
What's the Rickshaw Challenge About?
The Rickshaw Challenge was conceived in 2006 by Aravind Bremanandam, a well traveled motor sports enthusiast from Tamil Nadu in India. His interactions with auto rickshaws go back to his childhood, as he recalls his family having one.
In creating the Rickshaw Challenge, Aravind wanted to enable people to take part in a unique adventure sport, as well as help the underprivileged people of India.
The Rickshaw Challenge involves teams of one to three people driving an auto rickshaw along a specified route in India. During the journey, you'll also get the opportunity to visit a number of charity projects. In case your rickshaw has mechanical problems (which it will!), there are support crews of mechanics on hand to help.
What Different Rickshaw Challenge Options are There?The four different Rickshaw Challenge events that currently take place in India are:
- Mumbai Xpress -- the most popular! This Rickshaw Challenges takes participants from Chennai to Mumbai, over 13 days of driving. The route covers 1,900 kilometers and passes through four states (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra). The scenery consists of bustling cities, refreshing mountains, picturesque valleys and beaches. You'll get to encounter the notorious monsoon in India as well.
- Tech Raid -- especially designed for those in the IT industry. This 7 day Rickshaw Challenge has a focus on technology, and visits centers in India's most progressive high-tech cities (including Bangalore and Hyderabad). It also includes a number of tech-related challenges for participants to perform. It's a great way to explore India's technology and the countryside!
- Classic Run - as it's name suggests, this Rickshaw Challenge was where it all began! It's an 11 day journey that covers the best of the state of Tamil Nadu, in south India.
- Malabar Rampage - the longest and the toughest! The Malabar Rampage takes participants on an extensive 19 day odyssey through the heart of south India. Not for the feint-hearted, this Rickshaw Challenge will really test your endurance, but will reward you too! The route is a loop that starts and ends in Chennai, on India's east coast. It traverses India, to visit a number of popular places on the west coast as well.
If you've got something else in mind, you can even arrange your own auto rickshaw adventure! These rickshaw challenges are excellent team building exercises, as they encourage people to think together (driving an auto rickshaw in India is not an easy task!), help each other out (through mechanical issues, getting lost, and other mishaps on the road), and most of all -- have fun together. At the end, there really is a huge sense of accomplishment in having completed an outstanding achievement.
What's the Cost of Entering the Rickshaw Challenge?It's not cheap to enter the Rickshaw Challenge because there are a lot of overhead expenses that need to be taken care of. However, the money spent is well worth it! Since the Rickshaw Challenge has a large charitable component, many teams find sponsors to help with the cost.
The registration fee for the Rickshaw Challenge ranges from 1,300 Euros ($1,800) for the Classic Run up to 1,600 Euros ($2,250) for the Mumbai Xpress and Malabar Rampage. The Tech Raid is 1,400 Euros ($2,000). This fee is for teams of one or two people. An additional supplement must be paid for a third person.
On top of the registration fee, you'll also need to pay a 900 Euro ($1,300) deposit to cover the rickshaw and mobile phone, accommodation costs (packages can be provided), and daily expenses including fuel for the auto rickshaw. For an additional fee, you can also have your rickshaw colorfully "pimped" in what ever crazy design takes your fancy.
What is the Charity Component of the Rickshaw Challenge?The Rickshaw Challenge isn't just an zany adventure. It also helps a good cause -- projects undertaken by Round Table India. Many of these projects are construction of schools for India's underpriveldged children, which participants get to see along the course of the Rickshaw Challenge.
Participants of the Rickshaw Challenge are encouraged to raise funds of at least 1,500 Euros ($2,100) to contribute to the charity.