By Sundarkrishna and Anantacharya Dasa
This was Latur’s second pāda-yātrā; located in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, the city is popular with tourists attracted by the historical monuments. Our first holy walk lasted for three days in October of 2016 starting in Latur and ending in Ter. This time we held a six day pāda-yātrā starting again from ISKCON Latur but finishing in Tuljapur, in the Osmanabad district. Tuljapur located 84 kilometers away from Latur is well-known for its ‘Tulja Bhavani’ temple dedicated to Goddess Bhavani. Pilgrims come from all over to visit the temple.
Lokanath Swami attended the ISKCON Maharashtra Preaching Ministry (IMPM) talks held in Latur this year. This was when he instructed us to arrange another pāda-yātrā here. We gathered strength from his words and decided to do it. Our team consisted of 35 devotees all of whom were engaged in various services such as saṅkīrtana, and prasādam and book distribution. The main attraction of the pāda-yātrā was a bullock cart carrying the deities of Sri Sri Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra Devi and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai deities. Walking with the deities of Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra made everything more special because it was like having a pāda-yātrā and ratha-yātrā combined.
Day 1, 12 July 2017
Our pāda-yātrā cart was decorated and all the devotees filled with enthusiasm to start the Holy walk. We walked from the ISKCON Latur temple to Ausa, a town with a municipal council in the Latur district 25 kilometers from the city. We then stopped at ‘Ausekar Maharaj Math’ for the day.
Day 2, 13th July 2017
We walked 20 kilometers from Ausa to Belkunda where we ended the day. We held saṅkīrtana and sandhyā ārati with many villagers joining us for the program. In the morning all the pāda-yātris gathered for maṅgala-ārati followed by Srimad Bhagavatam classes. Afterwards we moved onto our next destination.
Day 3, 14 July 2017
Our next stop was Ujani, a village in Ausa Taluka 15 kilometers from Belkund. As we neared the village the villagers came up to welcome us with ārati and garlands and washed the bulls’ feet. In the evening we had a small session on “The Glories of the Holy names.” Many people gathered for the class and we distributed prasādam after. We also invited everyone for maṅgala-ārati (which they called kakad ārati in their dialect). Our next destination was Patoda.
Day 4, 15 July 2017
After travelling 12 kilometers we reached Patoda, a village in Osmanabad Tehsil in the Osmanabad district.
Day 5, 16 July 2017
We travelled 12 kilometers to the village of Kakramba in Tuljapur Tehsil in the district of Osmanabad district.
Day 6, 17 July 2017
We finally reached Tuljapur about 10 kilometers from Kakramba. We arrived on the auspicious day of ratha-yātrā organized by the Tuljapur devotees. It was a great celebration and even better to reach our destination and have one more event waiting for us. There were more than 250 people who attended the ratha-yātrā which was a 4 kilometer procession.
We wish to thank all the devotees who made this pāda-yātrā possible. Thank you to the devotees who arranged the classes, headed the kitchen department, organized the saṅkīrtana, headed the advance party team, organized the morning programs and distributed books.
On behalf of all the pāda-yātris we humbly wish to thank Lokanath Swami Maharaja and Srila Prabhupad for having blessed this pāda-yātrā. We are happy to have made this pāda-yātrā an offering at the lotus feet of Lokanath Swami.
All thepāda-yātris were enthused, motivated and blissful after the walk. We distributed 100 big books and 200 Back To Godhead (BTG) magazines during the pāda-yātrā.
To all temple leaders
We come from a small temple with a few devotees but with the blessings of Lokanath Swami and our desire to please him it was possible for us to do this holy walk. Pleasing Guru is the only perfection of our lives and we should strive hard for it. We believe that every temple should have pāda-yātrā because it fills devotees with a mood of preaching when they meet people who are searching for the absolute truth and when they see them inspired from the walk.
Jai Srila Prabhupada!