Day 147| 7 June 2015 | Walsang to Akalkot | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WOH Day 147 starts off from Walsang Wada, Solapur
  • Multi-colored bullock carts are a sight to sore eyes , Akkalkot Road, Solapur
  • Breakfast time at Kajral, Solapur
  • The 'network has followed' Sri M right up till here !
  • A moment of deep reverence in between a break for breakfast, Karjal, Solapur
  • A bridge between two generations
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  • Welcoming Sri M at the Holy temple complex of Akkalkot
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  • Sri M receives food from the Annachchatra to ne offered as 'naivedya', Solapur
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  • Sri M offering Arathi to Swami Samarth ath the Vatavruksha temple, Akkalkot
  • In the room that holds the personal effects of Swami Samarth, Solapur
  • The holy Vatavruksha around which the Swami Samarth shrine is built, Akkalkot
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  • Receiving a figurine depicting Swami Samarth , Akkalkot
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  • At the residence of the late Sri Cholappa Maharaj, disciple of Swami Samarth
  • Admiring the silver yogadand of Swami Samarth, Solapur
  • The giant urn used for bathing by Swami Samarth, Akkalkot
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The yatris were transported from Akkalkot to Walsang to begin the walk early in the morning after a cup of tea. They left around 5.30 a.m. and the walk covered a distance of about 17 kilometres.

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The terrain and the day conditions were very much like the previous days. There was a cool breeze blowing which sometimes became strong enough to furl many of the umbrellas sheltering the yatris from the hot sun! Breakfast was served in a school on the way and after the usual breaks and having crossed villages like Hasapur and Karjal, they reached Akkalkot just after noon. Many of the walkers went back to their rooms to freshen up. Sri M changed into traditional attire for a puja and was led to the Anna Chattra (the kitchen and dining hall) where he performed puja at the Swami Samarth place of worship. He was asked to bless the food stored in the large vessels in the kitchen. Naivedya (food offering for the deities) was served in plates for the deities in the temple and Sri M was led to the Vatavruksh Temple where it was offered to Swami Samarth first. All the yatris had gathered at the dining hall by this time and they were all led in groups for lunch. Akkalkot was teeming with devotees, being the last weekend before the school holidays ended in Maharashtra. It is a small town, close to the border between Maharashtra and Karnataka. It was home to Shri Swami Samarth Maharaj, a 19th century saint who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya by his devotees. Swami Maharaj lived in Akkalkot for over two decades, mainly at the residence of his disciple Cholappa, where his samadhi and shrine are now located. The shrine complex is known as the ‘Vatavruksh Mandir’ since it encloses the banyan tree beneath which the Swami would preach his message. It is a hub of devotion for his followers. The Shri Swami Samarth Annachhatra Mandal provides free accommodation and meals to pilgrims. The other local shrine is the samadhi of Shri Akkalkot Swami located some distance away from the main shrine, but within the city limits. Swami Samarth is believed to be the second Datta incarnation of Shri Narasimha Saraswati.As mentioned in the book of Shree Gurucharitra, he entered into Samadhi in Kadalivanam in 1458. When a woodcutter accidentally awakened him from Samadhi after 300 years, the personality came to be known as Swami Samarth. Shri Swami Samarth travelled all over the country including the Himalayas and eventually lived in Akkalkot. Like all other Datta avatars, his parentage, name, native place, etc., remain obscure to this day. During the British raj, Akkalkot was a princely state ruled by the royal Bhonsale dynasty. The padyatris got the impression that the town seemed to be in a deep state of slumber, still stuck in that ancient age. The roads seemed unkempt with piles of garbage piled on the sides; the shops they saw near the temple seemed to sell the same things catering to pilgrims; open sewers with plastic strewn in them; the trademark old barber shops with two or three chairs et al. The weather and the climate offered no respite. It continues to be hot with an average temperature of 40 degrees. It is also very humid. With frequent power cuts, misery is compounded. Padyatris wondered at the spirit that keeps the people of this terrain going under such harsh conditions. There were welcome showers late afternoon and the temperature soon dipped with a cool breeze. In the evening, Sri M and the padayatris were joined by the Maharashtra Chief Minister's brother, Shri Ashish Fadnavis and his family. Together, they visited the Vatavruksh Temple and then the Samadhi Temple. At both places, Sri M performed the ‘aarti’. Then, he went around the temple premises. These two visits took the entire evening and there was no Satsang. After coming back to the lodge and resting for some time, some padayatris went to the Anna-Chatralaya Temple for dinner. Many also went to the roadside eateries. The traditional Maharashtrian snack- ‘vada-pavs’ tasted exceptionally good in Akkalkot.

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  1. Sreeranjini says:

    Been walking virtually with Sri M ON FACEBOOK. HAPPY to reach Akkalkot

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