Day 74| 26 March 2015 | Channapatna to Ramanagara | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

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The day began with a few ground rules being introduced for the Walk. A Pledge of Peace and Harmony was also taken by the padayatris, reiterating their daily commitment to the objectives of the Walk. The day’s progress started at 6.00 am after a refreshing cup of coffee. The 18 km route progressed along Mysore Bangalore highway, State Highway #17. The destination of the day— Wadeyarahalli, Ramanagara

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The walkers left the Mutt at Doddamaluru and walked in the pleasant morning hours and passed through small villages like Honniganahalli, Vondaraguppe, Doddamanugudde forest and Bolappanhalli. They passed through the main town, Channapatna,at 6.30 am where they were greeted by a group of about 20 people. Sri M interacted with the group and the walkers and everyone enjoyed the local commune’s hospitality for a brief time. Channapatna is famous for its wooden toys and lacquer-ware. These toys are manufactured in traditional small-scale industries and sustain the livelihood for many families in Channapatna and neighbouring places. They are a form of wooden toys and dolls and is a traditional craft protected by a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka. Known for the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru (the Toy-Town) of the state. It involves lacquering the wood of the Wrightia Tinctoria tree, colloquially called Aalemara (ivory wood). Historically, these places were under the rule of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and the origin of these toys are traced to the reign of Tipu Sultan who invited artisans from Persia to train the local people in the making of the dolls. Shortly after leaving Channapatna town, Sri M was again welcomed by a group of 20 and they had another short break. During these short breaks, local communities serve the walkers with milk, buttermilk or juice, depending on the time of reception. After a visit to a Hanuman temple on the highway, they stopped for breakfast. Progressing on, the walkers stopped at the BGS Blind School where they were greeted by a group of people. Walking for another hour or so, they entered Ramanagara town at 10.30 am, where a team of about fifty people accorded Sri M a traditional welcome with a kumbha. There was a short break here. Another observation was how the animals – bovine and canine variety – react to seeing a large contingent of people, mostly looking scared while some of the canine variety barked as a defensive reaction. Soon after, they reached BGS Hospital where Sri M was accorded a welcome by about 30 people and the yatris stopped for a while, enjoying a refreshing juice and a brief respite from the scorching sun.Walking on the State Highway for the past one week, the traffic, the heat, dust and the noise have been quite unrelenting. The padayatra reached the Sree Sankeswar Parshwa Dharanendra Padmavathi Jain Temple and guesthouse in Wadeyarahalli, Ramanagara by noon, at a rather slower place than usual. Ramanagara is a town not far away from Bangalore. The town was known as Shamserabad during the time of Tipu Sultan. The entire district is also known for some of the world's oldest granite outcrops. The hill Ramadevarabetta, along with Savanadurga, was one of the shooting locations for David Lean's A Passage to India. Small door like grottoes were made in the rock to resemble caves. It was also in this region that the path breaking, and now the iconic Hindi movie, Sholay, was shot. Other well-known hills in the region include the Revanasideshwara hill and Handigundi. The region is covered with scrub forest and is home to threatened bird species such as the yellow-throated bulbul and long-billed vultures. The hill is today one of the few locations in south India where long-billed vultures nest. The region is also home to numerous sloth bears. Climbers have been undertaking technical climbing in and around the hills of Ramanagara since the 1960s. There are over 80 documented sport routes abounding in a radius of 20 square kilometers. Accommodation at the Temple guesthouse was spacious and basic with four people in a room. The yatris had the rest of the day to themselves. While some of them spent time in quiet contemplation, others chose to have long conversations with fellow walkers. These conversations center on the effects of the padayatra, and when they exchange notes, it is gratifying to see how some of the experiences even just below the surface, are the same. No doubt, the walkers feel the transformation that their attitudes have undergone over the past two months, quite exemplified by their readiness to share and be there for each other in a compassionate sense. They are together in the mission, perhaps the greatest of their lives, and it is gradually dawning upon them that they are making history in the process. Tomorrow’s generation will remain in gratitude for the pain and suffering they undertake today, walking long distances under an unrelenting sun, weathered and beaten by the daily grind yet not giving up since there is too much at stake here—the future of the country as a peaceful and harmonious nation. There was no evening Satsang or an evening program scheduled for the day. Resting after lunch, the yatris congregated for a short meeting at 5.30 pm. The Walk will reach Bengaluru in two days and the padayatris are looking forward to the long break during the Bangalore leg.

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