Day 299 | 6 November 2015 | Rest in Narsinghpur | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Sri M on the banks of the Narmada at Barman Ghat on his 67th birthday
  • Sri M offering Arati to Goddess Narmada - Barman Ghat
  • Dawn breaks over the Narmada - Narsinghpur
  • Temple dedicated to Goddess Narmada at Barman Ghat
  • Inside the Narmada temple - Barman Ghat
  • A memorial in the name of a Gwalior Queen - Barman Ghat
  • Sri M lights the Dhuni during his birthday celebrations
  • The Dhuni & a Nath Yogi - always inseparable - Narsinghpur
  • Sri M offering oblations to the fire as haunting folk music fills the air -Narsinghpur
  • The Dhuni with its mesmerising flames - Hotel Athithi Palace
  • Dhrupad singing at its imperious best - Gundecha Brothers in Concert during Sri M's birthday celebrations
Walk of Hope is in the city of Narsinghpur and today was a day of rest. Sri M and the padyaatris visited the Narmada Ghat near Barman in the morning. The evening, the padyaatris came together again to celebrate Sri M’s 67th birthday. Apart from these two events, the larger part of the day was their own. With their resting place well outside the city limits the padyaatris did not feel inclined to visit the town again and they spent time doing what they usually did, catching up on their essentials - washing clothes, sleeping and eating.

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To Hindus, the Narmada is one of the seven holy rivers of India. According to a legend, the river Ganges, polluted by millions of people bathing in it, assumes the form of a black cow and comes to the Narmada to bathe and cleanse itself in its holy waters. Legends also claim that the Narmada River is older than the river Ganges. There are many fables about the origin of the Narmada. The importance of the Narmada River as sacred is testified by the fact that the pilgrims perform a holy pilgrimage of a parikrama or circumambulation of the river. The Narmada Parikrama, as it is called, is a 2,600-kilometre (1,600 mi) walk. Visiting the banks of the Narmada river near Barman, Sri M offered an Aarti and prayers to River Goddess. The ghats and the river were particularly clean for a holy pace which many people visit. The waters of the Narmada were turquoise in colour and as the sun dawned, a million rays of orange cast down on the water. Veils of mist slowly lifted as the sun came up and the magic disappeared. They went onwards to the ancient temple close to the ghats. Luckily, the Ghat and the temple were empty and they were all by themselves. They enjoyed a nice and quiet, uneventful morning. After the visit they went off to their place of rest and spent the major part of the day there. Evening saw the padyaatris gathering again in large open grounds in Narshingpur to celebrate Sri M’s birthday. There were two performances, the first one was a folk perfomance by local artists who had walked with them a few days ago, and the second one was a Dhrupad performance by the Gundecha Brothers. Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha, leading Dagarvani dhrupad singers. They have performed in Walk of Hope events before and have also walked with Sri M. With the onset of winter, the evenings get chilly and that day was no different. After the performance Sri M lit the Dhuni. Everyone sat there for sometime in quiet. With sporadic power cuts there were moments when the flames from the Dhuni were the only light in the darkness. The day ended with a lavish dinner and they turned in after a late evening.

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