Sydney Padayatra 2018 ”“ pilgrims walking for farmers

By Manju Mittal

”˜Let’s Give Hope’- a non profit Sydney organisation walk2temple team organised annual event Padayatra which proved to be quite popular. This year the event Padayatra was held in Sydney on 29th September, 2018. It was a free event to all the members of community in general to participate and enjoy walk with family & friends, this year the yatra was with an aim to support NSW struggling farmers. It was indeed a historic long weekend for the Hindu Community in Sydney.

Despite being a long weekend more than two hundred enthusiastic devotees with determination, faith and devotion congregated to participate in the 65km walk for the annual event which commenced at Westmead Sri Murugan temple and ended at Helensburgh Sri Venkatershwara temple. It is a Hindu tradition to walk to a pilgrimage on special occasions during the festive season. So Sydney has its own pilgrimage which is covered by some eager Sydney pilrims. Some devotees also joined from Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane this year.

Westmead temple was open early morning especially to welcome the yatris. There was special Arthi and Abhishekam for the pilgrims performed by Priests to kick off the walk. The journey by foot – Padayatra began on a sunny & windy spring day at 6 in the morning from the Sri Murugan temple at Westmead after the blessings offered by the Priest.

After a long 14km walk, the walkers reached Strathfield Sai Temple at 9 30am. They were served breakfast at the temple. There was a stall put up by Sai devotees to serve hot Idli, Sambhar, Upma & tea and coffee to Padayatris. Some pilgrims concluded their yatra at Sai temple only while other walkers joined the walk from Sai temple for the last leg of the pilgrimage which went all the way to Helensburgh’s Sri Venkateswara temple.

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 in the evening, Sri Ventakeshwara temple Helensburgh provided transport to pick up and drop them to Lawrence Hargrave Road.

Sydney devotee and walker Renga Rajan said, “The walk is divine, a walk of faith that is a good cause that makes you humble and it is a great tradition to make new friends with other Pada Yatris”. He was also very grateful to all the devotees to strengthen their spiritual life. Another Padayatra participant Aruna Charndrala, who completed 65 km walk, added, “It was amazing to see the young walkers especially women joining padayatra very enthusiastically this year. We want to make the Padayatra Temple to Temple Walk to grow in the future and promote it as a big Hindu religious event of importance for the Sydney Indian and South Asian Community”.

Young Pilgrims and a mum with fourteen month old baby did 16 km walk

One of the padayatris, Renga Rajan’s aunty came from India and was impressed with this initiative, she shared a similar experience when she said, “Padayatra is an excellent spiritual experience and worthwhile time spent in devotional service, I have gained experience by meeting so many inspiring people in Sydney”. Young walkers shared their experience, “For us personally the experience was quite unique and helped us overcome the normal tensions of modern day life.”

The organising team of Walk2Temple included Sai Paravastu, Murli Konneru, Ravi Ananthuala and Ravinder Etikala. They have named this Padayatra “Lets Give Hope”. The Padayatra 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.

I personally became inspired to be part of this spiritual experience and have taken it every spring season during long weekend for a self cleansing exercise Congratulations to the organisers of Padayatra and TIDU sends them many sincere wishes in the future.












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