Paada Yatra – come rain or shine

Paada.yatra “come rain or shine” – Was it a true test of our determination to walk, come rain or shine or was the rain welcoming us for our determination to support the drought cause once again. Rain is the source of joy, happiness, optimism, destination, future and so on for an agrarian society.Rain is the lifeline, this year we walked again to support our drought hit farmers and our feelings have going one step beyond towards the animals who cannot demand for food and water and live with what they can find around. During this walk we pledged to support “Gow Shala” in Hunter Valley run by ISKON.

We had a delayed start to give ourselves time to gather and start the walk, we were welcomed by Hon. Dr. Hugh McDermott (MP Prospect) and Clr. Sameer Pandey (Parramatta Councilor) and kicked off the walk. It was so nice to see so many new faces and youth joining the walk from Murugan Sri Lankan Temple to Sai Mandir Sydney. Some walked with ponchos on and some with umbrellas and some enjoying the rain as-is. With the same enthusiasm and energy, we started walking down backstreets of Parramatta towards great western hwy, as we went rain poured onto uson and off all along the way to Sai Mandir Sydney in Strathfield. We wanted to present some rough statistics of participation in the yatra this year (attached)

We were welcomed at Strathfield Sai Mandir by Hon. Jodi McKay , leader for Labor party NSW and Smt. Aruna Chandrala where many of the walkers finished their yatra and many more joined us from there to continue to Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh, NSW. As always, we had participants joining us from inter-state and from different parts of NSW (Dubbo, Central Coast, Port Macquarie and Canberra) some who are experiencing and seeing the drought closely and understand that more than us who live in suburbs of Sydney.

@Rama Bale ji and the team at the Sai Mandir has cooked yummy breakfast again this year. Delicious south indian breakfast and plenty of snacks for kids.
Temple arranged for a special aarti for yatri’s. After the aarti Jodi McKay addressed the yatris and cheered for them and supported our cause with encouraging words.After all these little ceremonies yatris have started their walk again towards Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh, NSW.

The walk continued to Como park without any problems, where we all had good lunch sponsored by one of the walker / volunteer @Sundari Ji, from there we continued the walk up to Engadine and the yatri’s were taken in cars / vans to the beginning of the temple road. We all walked together from there to temple and finished the walk. This year we had walkers from 8 years to 80 years. We cannot conclude this article with out commending Tuljeshwar (10 yrs) who was the youngest to walk up to Helensburgh and the oldest 70+ yrs who walked up to Strathfield and their energy and enthusiasm was so inspirational and addictive.

Temple was buzzing with devotees as it is the 6th day of the #Brahmotsavam at Vishnu temple. we all had amazing #darshan of Lord Sri Venkateshwara.

Vision –
Our vision is to keep our traditions and culture alive and at the same time organise the event properly so that many others have chance to participate and reap the benefits of #bhakti, spirituality and health.

Doing it over the long weekend makes it better and even better if it coincides with festivals in the temple. We are yet to get full walk permission from government authorities, but we are very hopeful that very soon we will get this approved and we can complete the walk in full. We have started to tie this auspicious walk to a noble cause a couple of years ago and this year we are raising funds for “#drought” affected areas of #NSW again. We are aiming to raise around $3000 for the cause Hindu Benevolent Fund.

Apart from keeping the traditions alive and our community fit, we are passing on this ancient tradition to our future generation to keep it and take it forward into the future in this wonderful multi-cultural country. On behalf of Hindu Council Australia and Paada.yatra team we congratulate all participants and wish to see you all who are reading this article to participate in the walk next year.