Saturday, 23 March 2013


The Tirath Yatra sponsored walk scheduled for today, organised by Leicester Friends of The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, has been postponed due to inclement weather.

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 power".

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 Hinduism and other Indian religions, means pilgrimage to holy places and is generally undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as a yatri. It is desirable, 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):
  1. Shree Jalaram Prarthana Mandal, 85 Narborough Rd, LE3 0LF 
  2. Jain Centre, 32 Oxford St, LE1 5XU
  3. Geeta Bhavan, 70 Clarendon Park Rd, LE2 3AD
  4. Radha Krishna Mandir, 47 Cromford St, LE2 0FW
  5. Shree Hindu Mandir, 34 St Barnabas Rd, LE5 4BD
  6. Mandir Baba Balak Nath Ji, 1 Uppingham Rd, LE5 3TA
  7. Shree Sanatan Mandir, 84 Weymouth St, LE4 6FQ
  8. Shree Shakti Mandir,  73 Cannon Stt, LE4 6NH
  9. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, 135 Gipsy Ln, LE4 6RH
  10. Swaminarayan Mandir (ISSO), 139-141 Loughborough Rd, LE4 5LQ
  11. Shreeji Haveli, 504 Melton Rd, LE4 7SP
  12. Ram Mandir, Hildyard Rd, LE4 5GG
  13. Shri Siva Murugan Temple, Unit 3b Abbey Mill, Ross Walk, LE4 5HH
  14. Sri Vedmata Gayatri Parivar, 16 Rendell Rd, LE4 6LE

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.

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