By Radhavallabha dasa, Andhra Pradesh Padayatra leader
On October 17, 2019, the city of Tirupati witnessed the grand opening of the Andhra Pradesh Padayatra. The ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Sri Sri Radha-Govind temple. The first arati was performed by Lokanath Maharaja, the inspiration behind our padayatra.
By the Lord’s arrangement it was GBC meeting time in Tirupati and the inauguration was attended by many senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada, including Bhanu Swami Maharaja, Anuttam prabhu, Bhakti Marg Maharaja (who enriched the ceremony with his melodious sankirtan), and Kavi Chandra Maharaja. All of them did arati and broke coconuts to make everything auspicious. After the arati, the oxen were yoked to the cart and everyone was eager to begin the first walk. All the guests fed jaggery to the oxen, the godbrothers held scissors and together cut the ribbon, and the holy walk was under way enriched with wonderful kirtan.
The ratha and the oxen were beautifully decorated and it was wonderful to see Lokanath Maharaja driving the ratha after accepting blessings from Srila Prabhupada. We walked from the Radha-Govind temple to the base of Tirumala Hill and at a square circumambulated a statue of Garudji before returning to the temple.
We plan to take two years walking from Tirupati to Ahobilam then Simhachalam and then come back to Tirupati, thus forming a triangle. There are thirty-six Narsingh temples in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and our schedule includes visiting and taking darshan of all of them. We currently have one ratha, four oxen, one bus, one bicycle, and eight devotees walking with several local devotees. At this time padayatra is moving through the outskirts of Tirupati. We need the blessings of all devotees so that we can continue padayatra and please our spiritual master and Srila Prabhupada.