Offering floral tributes to Raja Hari singh - last king of Kashmir
Sri M addresses children at Sri Amar Kshatriya Rajpur Sabha - Samba
Along the town of Samba
The finish line is tantalisingly close - Samba
Inside the Chinchimata Devi Temple
The first function of the day was at Amar Kshatriya Rajput Sabha where there is a larger-than-life size statue of Raja Hari Singh, the last Maharaja of Kashmir. He is also the father of Sri Karan Singh, former Union Minister and Patron of Walk of Hope. Sri M and the padayatris paid floral tributes to the statue of the Maharaja.
In the adjacent compound is the Veer Bhoomi Memorial, a symbol of respect to the martyrs belonging to the Armed forces. Many school children had also assembled and they happily took part in the ceremony of paying floral tributes at this sacred place. Then, it was time for a group photo with Sri M.
Sri M then addressed the school children who had assembled at the Amar Kshatriya Rajput Sabha. He once again methodically described the objective of the yatra, its logistics and progress thus far. He didn't let go of the opportunity to impress upon their young minds the imperative need for Sadbhavana and Manav Ekta in these troubled times. He dwelt on India's historic tradition as a torch bearer of peace and universal brotherhood. He asked the kids to reflect on these issues and spread these ideals whenever and wherever they can, ensuring a happier and more peaceful tomorrow. His explanation of his exceptional- sounding sounding name brought applause from the audience. The padayatra continued after tea and light refreshments.
A kilometre down the highway, the western horizon was clearly visible, with the Pakistani territory in full view barely a couple of kilometres away. Many were left wondering how different the Pakistanis will be from Indians! A political decision and an imaginary line has driven a wedge between people who had lived as one for centuries together. The bitterness of three wars and scores of cross border skirmishes add oil to the fire. One was left wondering whether the cryptic prediction of Nostradamus that India and Pakistan would reunite some day would come true. That would be a happy day and what a hockey / cricket team we would have!
The last important event of the day was the visit to the Chichi Mata temple.This is one of the revered religious sites of the state and it is commonly considered to be the gateway to the temple of Vaishno Devi. It is said to be the pehla darshan and integral part of the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. The yatra of Vaishno Mata remains incomplete unless one pays visit to Chichi Mata.
Padayatris had a leisurely darshan as there was no rush, with the Navrathri festival getting over a few days back. The Panditji of the temple was kind enough to make the yatris sit around him and explained the legend of the temple.
The walk ended a short distance from the temple and the padayatris returned by bus to Kalika Dham.