By Sanak Sanatana Dasa (Former All India padayatra leader)
The inauguration of Sri Rama temple will be a great and once in a life event and the most awaited event. Like our Caitanya Mahaprabhus 500th birth anniversary celebration.
At that time, we had Padayatra as a way of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the appearance Of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We had Dwaraka to Mayapur padayatra that was also a once in a lifetime event and then padayatra never stopped it’s still going on and on.
So aligned to that Ayodhya Padayatra came to my mind. First, we were thinking that general people can walk with us bit there is a security issue, so we dropped that plan.
Then there was a need for chariot and deities for the ISKCON camp which we will have there from 20 January 2024 to 26th February 2023. Like we had during the Kumbha mela. Lakhs of people are expected for the inauguration of the Sri Rama temple. So, it was time to call upon padayatra as they are the best book distributors and for this Uttar Pradesh padayatra was the most appropriate. So, we called upon for them and padayatris from All India Padayatra and former padayatra leader Rupa Goswami Dasa, Ritu Dvipa Gaura Chandra Dasa, Uttar Pradesh padayatra leader and all the UP padayatris , Madangopal and Shanti parayan Dasa and Dhanya Caitanya dasa All India Padayatris and few other devotees also joined us.
So, we will be walking from Delhi to Ayodhya to mark our presence for the most awaited event. Many people have waited for this event for 50 years. It was a dream project of many Lord Ramas devotees. So, this will be a remarkable event in history.
The inauguration Ceremony of Sri Ram Padyatra was on 10th December at ISKCON Delhi (Indraprastha). ISKCON’s Sri Rama Padayatra commenced its 41-day journey to Ayodhya from East of Kailash, Delhi with a grand inauguration in the presence of Smt Meenakshi Lekhi (Union Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Culture), Shri Ashwini Kumar Chaubey (Union Minister of State for Environment, Food & Consumer Affairs) and Shri Ramesh Biduri (Member of Parliament – South Delhi), senior ISKCON leaders, media and over 400 devotees and general public.
The program began with speeches by the devotees and guests. Ministers Lekhi and Chaubey spoke of their positive experience of ISKCON and its efforts in taking the teachings of Lord Rama and Krishna to everyone. Ashwini Kumar Chaubey shared his interactions with the devotees in Australia and Meenakshi Lekhi spoke of her recent visit to Krishna Valley. They expressed their gratitude for the Padayatra initiative and wished it a success.
After an arati to the Deities, Srila Prabhupada, and the oxen the Padatara officially began its journey towards Faridabad accompanied by dozens of devotees chanting and dancing. Nine TV channels and four newspapers covered this event and will be telecasting it in the news.
The Ayodhya festival committee thanks Mohan Rupa Prabhu and the East of Kailash devotees for helping organize this event and covering the costs involved therein. We also thank ISKCON Noida whose congregation joined the program in big numbers.
On 10th December Morning, The Padyatra was Inaugurated by Modi Govt. Ministers at Iskcon Delhi.The Padyatra reached the state of Haryana on the same day and had night halt at Iskcon Faridabad.
All of you pray for us that we can spread the glories of Sri Rama and his teachings as we walk and distribute widely the Srila Prabhupada books.
Jai Shri Rama