Today, Walk of Hope had a short, relaxed and an uneventful day. The padayatris were transported from Akkalkot to Solapur by bus as they had taken a 80 kilometre diversion and walked one way to visit Swami Samarth‘s Temple and Samadhi on the 6th. Today they returned to Solapur and the Jnana Prabodhini School was their host again. Starting at 10.30 a.m., the yatris reached JnanaPrabodhini late afternoon.
The padyatris reached the Brahmananda Hotgi Matha at 1.30 p.m. The matha is situated on an expansive stretch of land. The gateway to the matha is a gigantic stone arch, from which one can see a broad open walkway lined with trees leading up to an even larger temple. It takes one about ten minutes to walk to the temple from the gateway. The temple is an impressive and imposing structure; a large cavernous hall of large proportions. Each one of the many pillars is as wide as a hundred year old oak tree. The floor is made of stone and many deities adorn the walls. The far end of the temple has the sanctum sanctorum with a ten-feet high shivalinga and can easily accommodate over a hundred people.
A warm welcome from the matha authorities awaited the padayatris. They presented a rose to everyone and applied the traditional holy chandan on their foreheads. After everyone was seated, they shared the details of the matha and its activities. The matha is involved in many charitable activities, educational and medical institutions and is also involved in the upliftment of the people in that area. The matha priests very kindly held an elaborate prayer for the success of Walk of Hope. They invited the padayatris to join in and all gathered around the shivalinga, chanting in unison.
Following this, the yatris were led to a hall close to the temple. Lunch was organised there by the matha. Lunch was an elaborate spread with three types of rotis. After a relaxed lunch, the yatris reached Jnana Prabodhini at 4.00 pm. It was planned in such a way so that they would arrive at the school after the children had dispersed from school. The school had reopened only today.
The padayatris had a relaxed evening. Tomorrow, the rigorous walk schedule resumes and they start their walk towards Pandharpur, Vithoba and Rukmabai’s hometown.