Sydney Pada Yatra ”“ a spiritual journey right here!

Manju - Pada yatra



By Manju Mittal

It was a historic long weekend in October for the Hindu Community in Sydney. Up to a hundred enthusiastic devotees with determination, faith and devotion congregated to participate in 65km walk for the annual event Pada Yatra -Westmead Sri Murugan temple to Helensburgh Sri Venkatershwara temple. It is a Hindu tradition to walk to a pilgrim on special events and occasions during festive seasons. So Sydney has its own pilgrimage which is covered by some eager sydney devotees.

The tradition of foot march Pada Yatra ( Pada Yatra ) in India goes back thousands of years. In many other countries too the practice of religious pilgrimage is very much alive (think of the annual Hajj which every able Muslim is required to at least once in a lifetime ).

People participate in Pada Yatra for many reasons, for political purposes, to get away from stresses of life, for simple peace of mind, or just to go back to the basics or simply to get healthy exercise in a natural environment. I feel the real purpose of Pada Yatra is to get closer to God. Walking is also an intimate activity and the conversation also tends to flow easily with any walking companions. For the first time in 2012, ”˜Let’s Give Hope’ ”“ a non profit Sydney organisation walk2 temple team organised Pada Yatra event which proved to be quite popular.

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This year the event was held in Sydney on 3rd October 2015, Westmead temple was open early morning especially to welcome the pilgrims. There was special arthi and abhishekam for the pad yatris performed by priests to kick off the walk. The event was attended by Mr. Raj Datta Councillor, Strathfield.

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The journey by foot – Pada Yatra began at 5 30 in the morning from the Sri Murugan temple. After a short walk the walkers stopped at BAPS Swamynarayan temple in Harris Park for a short break. The walkers continued the walk to Sai temple in Strathfield and after a long 14km walk, they reached Strathfield Sai Temple at 9 30. Pilgrims were served breakfast at the temple. There was a stall put up by Sai devotees to serve hot upma and tea. Some pilgrims concluded their yatra at Sai temple while new ones joined the walk from Sai temple for the last leg of the pilgrimage which went all the way to Helensburgh’s Sri Venkateswara temple.

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The volunteers were amazingly helpful and encouraging, provided cold water, fruits and hot meal for walkers at set intervals. Mantra repetition and chanting gave pilgrims luminous energy. They had strong faith in God leading them towards their holy destination. They reached their final destination late evening, Sri Ventakeshwara temple Helensburgh provided transport to pick up and drop them at Lawrence Hargrave Road.

The Pada yatra Temple to Temple Walk was organised by registering the event with NSW Premier’s department, Road occupancy license from RMS, permission from NSW police and local councils and covered first aid requirements and public liability insurance for the day. It was supported by all local Hindu temples and the Hindu council of Australia. Sydney devotee and walker Renga Rajan said, “The walk is divine, walk of faith is a good cause that makes you humble and is a great tradition while making new friends with Sydney Pada Yatris”.

Another Pada Yatra supporter Aruna Charndrala added: “We want to make Pada Yatra Temple to Temple Walk to grow in the future and promote it as a big Hindu religious event of importance for Sydney Indian and South Asian Community”.

Walk2 Temple had devotees who walked to 4 temples and pilgrims came from 7 temples that included BAPS Swaminarayan Temple Blacktown, Sri Mander Auburn, Durga Temple Regents Park, Sri Ayyappa Temple, Karpaga Vinayakar Temple-Flemington and Shirdi Sai Mandir South Strathfield. Some devotees also joined from Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane this year.

The organising team of Walk2Temple included Sai Paravastu, Aruna Chandrala, Marali Koneru, Ravi Ananthuala and Ravinder Etikala.

For me personally the experience was quite unique and helped overcome the normal tensions of modern day life as it opened up a new dimension in my life. And I am sure others felt the same.











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