Saturday, 20 April 2013


Stage two of the Tirath Yatra Sponsored Walk with Leicester Friends of Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies: The Jain Centre, Oxford StreetThe goal is to visit 16 Hindu places of worship (mandirs) in Leicester on foot in a single day. 

Tirath Yatra (Hindi: तीर्थयात्रा) is a journey undertaken as a pilgrimage.

If you're wondering what became of stage one (Shree Jalaram Prarthana Mandal, Narborough Road) which was the starting point of the walk, I was on my way there myself when I met the group coming the other way through Bede Park, heading for the Jain Centre.

Jainism is seen as a religion in its own right as far as membership of Leicester Council of Faiths (and, for that matter, of the Inter Faith Network of the UK) goes, but no one involved today seems to object to the Jain Centre being included in a walking pilgrimage round Hindu places of worship in the city.

One of the distinctive and laudable features of Leicester's Jain Centre is that it offers a home for several sects of Jainism under one roof, giving each one its own worship space, while practitioners of the different denominations mingle socially.

Last year, on the Holi Yatra Walk, we spent quite a while in each place of worship, joining in devotions, receiving a talk or guided tour, enjoying refreshments. Consequently, we fell far behind schedule and overran by a few hours. I stay in the vestibule to update social media (Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook) about the walk while my fellow yatris head upstairs to the worship hall. I haven't even finished doing that before they come back down the stairs, start getting their shoes on and head out the door towards our next stage. I wonder if we're going to try and keep up this pace all day!

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