“Walking, in our high-speed world, has unfortunately fallen out of favour. The word “pedestrian” itself is used to describe something ordinary and commonplace. Yet, walking with intention has deep roots. Australia’s aboriginal youth go on walkabouts as a rite of passage; Native American tribes conduct vision quests in the wilderness; in Europe, for centuries, people have walked the Camino de Santiago, which spans the breadth of Spain, in Sri Lanka people walk from Jaffna to Kataragama (north to south). Such pilgrims place one foot firmly in front of the other, to fall in step with the rhythms of the universe and the cadence of their own hearts.”
To keep this tradition alive in Sydney, Australia and in the spirit of the tradition 100+ walkers have joined this year started assembling as early as 5:10AM at Sri Murugan Temple on Saturday 4th October early morning. The Temple was opened early to welcome the Yatris and the priests have started “Abhishekam” to Sri Murugan, and performed a special “Arathi” for the walkers to start with. The walk began around 6:45am and walked in discipline along the designated route in a single line towards Sri Sai Mandir in Strathfield. The first stop was at BAPS Swamynarayana temple in Harris Park and en-route some walkers joined from Karpaga Vinayagar temple in Flemington. It was a very holy start and finish for short walkers, most of Hindus would dream of achieving a feat like this once every year at the least. This has been made possible in Sydney, Australia by walk2temple team.
This walk of 14kms has a charisma of its own and something the team want to make for our future generations here in Australia.
Some participants completed their yatra at Sri Sai Mandir, while some more walkers joined the walk from here again. “Arathi” was performed to bless the walkers to continue their walk, after a sumptuous “prasadam”. Looking after each other walking in the same discipline they followed at the start, this is part of the walk shows the true essence of endurance and dedication from the walker, some regular walkers call have termed this as “Hurtsville” the ups and downs of this stretch takes us to the serene banks of Georges river, reached Como park by 2:00 PM. Thanks to volunteers who were driving along with cold water fruits (such as mandarins, bananas and apples) and also boosted the walkers with encouragement.
While all this is happening on one side, a dedicated team of Yaatri Sevaks (volunteers) who also started their day as early as these walkers, with full load of refreshments, drinks and other first aid items in their cars driven ahead to make necessary pit stop arrangements. Some picked up bags from Westmead and reached them to the Strathfield and again picked up bags from Strathfield and dropped them to Heathcoate a group of 10 to 20 volunteers were on the road in shifts looking after the needs and serving the walkers in making their walk as comfortable as they could. Their dedication and commitment to serve was second to none, God bless them all.
Volunteers made arrangements for another sumptuous meal at the bank of Georges river under the shade, which gave us that occasional breeze to cool off, another important thing which volunteers and core team does in this walk is to make sure walkers follow the route, – designed this route with utmost care to find a very safe route and to keep it as short as possible. Keeping this walkers in that path is one of the biggest challenges as well, which keep the core team on the phone all along and taking attendance at regular intervals and waiting for the slowest walkers. After lunch, walking, with inspiration and devotion continued from the quite streets of Oatley, Janali to reach to the Engadine by around 6:00 PM from where a mini bus was organised by Sri Venkateshwara Temple to pick up walkers and drop them off to Lawarance Hargrave Rd from there they all walked together to wrap up their “Yatra” by taking blessings at the temple. Hats off to all walkers who have finished the entire walk up to Sri Venkateshwara temple in Helensburgh.
There were no issues, injuries or problems (by God’s grace) and every one enjoyed the event and hopefully rested well. A very special thanks to all volunteer teams who were at the service of walkers at all the times, a lot of volunteer hours and effort has gone in making this event seamless and successful.
Special thanks to the priests at all the supporting temples, support staff from temple, temple management for making necessary arrangements for the walkers.
All the walkers thanked all the supportes in Holyroyd Council, Auburn Council, Strathfield Council, Sutherland Shire Council, NSW Police, RMS / RTA and last but not least Hindu Council of Australia for their support.