Ifshan Mehraj | Highland Excursions India Pvt Ltd | Part 1

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In a world where traditional gender roles often intersect with ambitious aspirations, the story of Ifshan Mehraj of Highland Excursions India Pvt Ltd & Fallhoney Pvt Ltd stands as a testament to determination, family support, and breaking down barriers.

As a woman entrepreneur in a predominantly male-dominated space, Ifshan has not only carved her own path but has also become an inspiration to others seeking to follow their passions.

While in a conversation with Rajesh Prothi, the Managing Partner of Absolute Factor and the Founder of www.thecherrytree.in,  she shared the most important part of her growth – her family support.

You walked into a space that is mostly male-dominated. While establishing yourself as a woman entrepreneur, what was the reaction of your family?

First, I am grateful to my family for the support they gave me. However, my biggest advantage was my father, Mr Mehraj Din, a professional adventurer himself, he instilled in me a love for the outdoors from a very early age. I give full credit to him for encouraging me to explore new places and take risks; his mentorship played a significant role in shaping my career path.
My family believed in my vision and helped me in every way possible to make it a reality. My father, in particular, played a crucial role in providing me with the emotional and financial support I needed to get started.

Looking back, what do you think about getting into business, especially this business?

Running a business is never easy, but having the support of your well-wishers makes all the difference. In my case, my family has made all the difference. They have been my cheerleaders, my sounding board, and my constant source of motivation. I am proud to say that my family’s contributions to the tourism industry in Jammu and Kashmir have been significant, and I am honored to be continuing that legacy.

What would you suggest to others, to be an entrepreneur or not?

I believe that family support is a critical factor for anyone to get into a business, especially for those women who want to pursue their careers and achieve their dreams. I am fortunate to have had that support, and I hope that other women will also have the opportunity to pursue their passions with the backing of their families.

You have reached a level everyone appreciates. During this journey, what have been your highs and lows?

I strongly believe that every event has a purpose and every setback is a lesson. I have realized that failure, whether of the personal, professional, or even spiritual kind, is essential for personal expansion. Whatever happens, is for the best. We may not realize it now, but in the future, when we look back to see how far we have come and connect the dots, we get to know the beauty of the hardships that we have gone through.

When we are growing up, we usually idolize or look up to someone. In your life, is there any person whom you idolized?

Yes, as a proud Kashmiri woman and entrepreneur, I am inspired by many women from Kashmir itself, who have made remarkable achievements in their fields. These women have broken down stereotypes, overcome challenges, and paved the way for future generations of women to follow.

In the field of adventure tourism, I am inspired by women like Ishrat Ali and Masarat Durrani, who have shown exceptional skills and bravery in climbing mountains and exploring the outdoors. They have proven that women can excel in traditionally male-dominated fields. In other fields also, there are many women – I am talking about Kashmiri women – who have made significant contributions in various fields.

I believe that we need to celebrate and honor their achievements. These women are an inspiration to all of us, and I hope that their stories will inspire many more young women to dream big and pursue their passions.

Youth is the future of our country and our society. How would you encourage them to explore their dreams?

To the youth, I want to say that the world is your playground, and you have the power to explore it in ways that are both exhilarating and meaningful. As an adventure enthusiast and an entrepreneur, I have found that there is no greater joy than pursuing your passion for adventure and exploring the world around you.

Whether it’s trekking through the beautiful mountains of Kashmir, skiing down the slopes of Gulmarg, or taking part in thrilling water sports on Dal Lake, adventure is all around us. And as the youth of this region, you have the opportunity to experience it firsthand and make the most of it.

Adventure is not just about the thrill of the moment. It is also about learning, growing, and pushing yourself beyond your limits. As a young entrepreneur, I have found that the skills I have developed through my love for adventure have helped me immensely in my career.

So, to the youth of Kashmir, I would like to say this: embrace your sense of adventure but also remember to be responsible and respectful toward nature and the environment. Take risks, learn from your experiences, and never give up on your dreams.
Finally, I want to encourage the youth of Kashmir to believe in themselves and their abilities. You are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to, whether it’s in adventure or any other field. Believe in yourself, take action, and never stop exploring.