Largest Walking Event
I stumbled upon an article in the “Padayatra Worldwide Newsletter,” a piece written by Ekacakragram. The article is entitled, “Participating in the Largest Walking Event in the World”. While reading I reminisced like anything.
“In July 2001 a group of devotees, all dressed with dhotis, kurtas or saris, participated for the first time in the biggest walking event in the world: a four-day walk in the area of Nijmeghan in Holland. The event, organized by the Holland National Walking Federation, had been taking place for the past forty years. Depending on their age and gender, participants can choose walking three distances: 30 km, 40 km or 50 km. Of course one can do less, but they will not get an official medal from the Queen. Devotees went with harinama and prasadam, and danced and chanted for the entire 30 km, but it was a little too intense for the devotees and a little too much for the public.
So the next year we just did one hour of kirtan and chanted japa during the walk. We got many opportunities to talk with people during the walk, as there was nothing else to do besides walking. People got an opportunity to ask the questions they had wanted to ask for many years. There were about forty devotees and congregation members coming and going during the four days. Fifteen devotees walked the entire four days, including Bhaktimarga Swami. I took the opportunity to introduce him as a famous walker in Canada… Over the four days a total of 45,000 people participated in the three categories of walks. Everybody had to wake up at 2:30 am and assemble in the middle of the city at 3:30 am. It was a very special atmosphere to see many people ready to walk together early in the morning. It was such a nice experience having a mangala-arati and walking with many people, talking all day about Krishna. We have become well-known in the camping ground. It was a kind of holiday, exhausting physically but mentally very refreshing.”
May the Source be with you!