Jammu: The 'Biking Queens' were received with a rousing reception after they hoisted the tricolour at one of the world's highest motorable passes, Khardung La in Ladakh, on Independence Day.
The group of 56 women riders achieved the feat after embarking on a journey of 10,000 kms covering 10 Asian countries and 12 Indian states.
The woman riders rode their way into people's hearts carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message of 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao', 'Swachh Bharat Mission' and 'Shashakt Nari, Shashakt Bharat'.
Sarika Mehta, who headed the gang, said, "It was a dream true after we hoisted the national flag on August 15 at (7,583 feet high) Khardung La. We wanted to send a message on women empowerment to the entire country with this endeavour".
She went on to add, "It was a challenge for us to embark on such a mission. We were sceptical in the beginning...some said we won't make it. But we strived and survived.” Mehta, a doctor by profession, headed the gang of women from 20 to 40 years of age. Professional bikers, doctors, students and housewives comprised the gang. Braving treacherous mountains and weather conditions, the Biking Queens travelled through mountainous terrains, deserts, valleys, riverine areas, villages and cities to take forward the message of women empowerment.
Minister of State Rajvardhan Singh Rathore, who received the gang at Khardung La pass, praised the bikers for their grit and determination.
"These women are modern Durgas. Mother Durga rides a tiger, but women of today have replaced the tiger with bikes. A woman riding a bike is a strong message in itself. That is why the gang chose the vehicle as the medium," he had said.
The all women motorcycle expedition was flagged off by former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel on July 19 last in Surat.
"From Surat, we biked to KanyaKumari and then to Nagaland and Varanasi. From there, we travelled via Manali to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. We met a chain of people mostly women. We provided books and other educational kits to inhabitants of rural areas. Women in urban areas need to come out of their comfort zones to reach out to the rural folks," Mehta said.
The 41-year-old spirited biker added, "We broke the mindset that women cannot do good in male bastions (like biking). But any girl can do it, if they chase their dreams and come out of their comfort zones".
Another member of the gang said there was a dire need for the government to focus its energies on the rural sector, especially in education and healthcare sectors....