More than 60 people
had signed up for this pilgrimage round Leicester's 15 mandirs. I was
looking forward to the occasion. I bought a new pair of urban walking trainers
and have been doing appropriate exercises so that I could make a better job of
it than I did last year. I walked for nine hours that day, but gave up
with five mandirs still to go. My legs were like jelly for days
after. Last year, the Holi Yatra Walk nearly killed me. I've been telling
folk that I'm determined to come back this time and finish the job. In total, the walk covers some 13 miles.
I've struggled to come
up with a definition of "Tirath". The best I could find is on Urban Dictionary. Not the most graceful English,
I'm sure you'll agree faithful reader, but the meaning is clear enough.
"Tirath: pilgrimage and sacred, full of holiness and divine
Here's the definition of "Yatra" from Wikipedia that I
used when I blogged about the sponsored walk last year. Yatra (Sanskrit: यात्रा, "journey",
"procession"), in Hinduismand other Indian
religions, means pilgrimage to holy places andis generally
undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as ayatri. It isdesirable, but not obligatory, for
a Hindu to go on a yatra. One can go on a yatra for a variety of reasons,
including festivals, to perform rituals for one's
ancestors, or to obtain good karma.
To traditional Hindus, the journey itself is as important as the destination,
and the hardships of travel serve as an act of devotion in
themselves. Visiting a sacred place is believed by the pilgrim to purify
the self and bring one closer to the divine.
I've listed below the names and addresses of the different stages on the sponsored walk, as well as links to their websites (for those which have one):
There's one other stop on the route, the address of which I don't list as it's untended most of the time.
To the untrained eye this may looks like a pretty exhaustive list of Hindu sites in Leicester, but I know of a further half dozen or more places of worship and/or faith-based community centres that are not visited on the walk. There's a new Shri Shirdi Baba Temple Association mandir on Colton Street opening at the end of this month, so hopefully that one can be slotted in too.