Day 150 | 10 June 2015 |Solapur to Pakni | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WOH Day 150 - the padayatris are on the NH 9 Hyderabad Pune Highway - Solapur
    1.WOH-Day-150-&-the-Padayatris-are-on-the-NH9,-Hyderabad-Pune-Highway,-Solapur,-Maharashatra
  • An 'early morning' walk along the streets of Solapur
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  • One of the lovely little shrines that dot the Solapur area
    3.One-of-the-lovely-littles-shrines-which-dot-these-areas,-Solapur,-Maharashtra
  • Padayatris circumnambulating Sri Sambhaji Maharaj Chowk Pune Naka
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  • One of the touching scenes of the day - Bale, Solapur
    6.One-of-the-touching-scenes-of-the-Day,-Bale,-Solapur,-Maharashtra
  • 'Now you know how we get our ice-cold drinks enroute' - Hiraj - Solapur
    7.Now-you-know-how-we-get-our-ice-cool-drinks-on-our-way!!,-Hiraj,-Solapur,-Maharashtra
  • Clear sky, clouds and a benevolent sun accompany the Walk - Kogav, Solapur
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  • Under the Neem tree during a break, Kondi, Solapur
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  • 'Saying it with a flower' - Kandi, Solapur
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  • Sheer joy that rises over their daily tribulations - Hiraj, Solapur
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  • Sri M welcomed at the K Mahadevrao Shinde School, Pakni
    12.Sir-being-received-at-the-K-Mahadevrao-Shinde-School,-Pakni,-Solapur,-Maharashtra
  • Planting a sapling at the Sri K Mahadevrao Shinde School, Pakni
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  • Blessing the topper of the Sri K Mahadevrao Shinde School, Pakni
    14.Sir-blesses-the-topper-of-the-Sri-K-Mahadevrao-Shinde-School,-Pakni,-Solapur,-Maharashtra
After a few days of beehive activity, the padayatra is generally moving quietly without much fanfare.People are leaving after the Solapur-Akkalkot weekend sector. The numbers are still large with many people walking to the pilgrimage place of Pandharpur. The padayatra took about an hour and a half to walk out of Solapur and they witnessed the city in its various phases from deep slumber to awakening to full-on activity. Glad to leave the city limits, they proceeded along the broad open highway.

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Walking to Pakni on the Pune Solapur highway, they covered a distance of 17 kilometers at a very quick pace, reaching the destination by 10.30 am. They passed through small hamlets like Bale, Kegaon, Chincholikati, Kondi and Saleshwar before they reached their halting point. Solapur is a large urban agglomerate and many of these villages have now become extensions of the city. Only after they crossed Kondi, did they come to the land of the Deccan they are now familiar with- open and free. The scenario here unfolds sharp contrasts. On one side of the road, one sees imposing buildings with glossy glass windows and white-tiled floors selling swanky automobiles while the other side presents sugarcane fields, mud-and-brick homes with thatched roofs, cattle and goats milling around, heaps of cow dung and children in clothes that have seen better days. There is poverty, while lack of sanitation and toilets are evident. Their noses pinched, the walkers walked quickly out of these areas wondering about our country, the land of maddening contrasts! As Sri M has said many a time, the country is rich but wealth is in the hands of a few and is yet to see equitable distribution. The vast distance between the rich and poor is more visible on the outskirts of urban areas. Walking on the busy highway, they reached Pakni’s Sri K Madhavrao Shinde School. A group of about 50 people from the community garlanded Sri M and greeted the padayatris. Sri M planted two saplings in the campus, and he also congratulated and blessed the school academic topper. With no other program scheduled for the rest of the day, the yatris dispersed to freshen up. The Boarding school has fifty to hundred children staying in large halls with paint peeling off the walls. Each student has a large tin trunk, reminiscent of yore, to keep his belongings and these boxes are lined up neatly against one wall. Power cuts are rampant and there is dearth of water. Toilets are basic and the school seems to be in desperate need of repairs. With the sun beating down mercilessly, life is tough. For the children, who may have seen worse and have no other avenues for education, the school provides them an opportunity to fight against odds, survive and chart their own future. They could see students mirthful and happy and ready to share this space with complete strangers—the traveling yatris! The travelers spent the rest of the day doing nothing in particular. For miles and miles, there were no other buildings around and all they could see was sugarcane fields in plenty. A few of them played cricket but that fizzled out, since they lost the ball mid-game. The sunsets in these areas are breathtaking. Each sunset, lasting only a few minutes, is majestic as if the sun was putting up it’s last show; flaunting its last dusk. The setting sun colors the sky a million hues of orange and red, each passing minute bringing on a new shade. With the wind in one’s face, these are indeed moments to treasure.

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