By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
“The evening walk will be easier- it’s only 8 kilometres!”
September 20, 2022: It was under a burning sun and high temperatures that Bharat Yatris, along with a large complement of party cadres, yatra supporters and others, walked from Cherthala to Kuthiathodu this morning, mostly on the treeless four-laned National Highway 66.
Despite the heat, the yatris continued to press on with energy, many of them suffering from minor ailments. When asked about the 14 plus km walk, Yatri Chanabasappa Jagali, Karnataka replied with grim humour “It’s ok, the evening walk will be easier- it’s only 8 kilometres!”. Attitudes such as these are the reason that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is inspiring people across the nation.
Congress party leader and Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi visited the 1300 year old Thuravoor Mahakshethram temple, regarded as the most revered religious sites in Kerala. Among the artists performing Chenda Melam (percussion using Chenda; a centuries old, highly popular art form in Kerala) was Padma Shri winner, Peruvanam Kuttan Marat.
In the afternoon Gandhi will meet representative women plantation workers and tribals from Idukki; as well as people affected by demarcation of Ecologically Sensitive Areas. Incidentally Eramalloor village (which was part of the start of the Yatra route map today) is famous nationwide for its seafood processing and shrimp cultivation.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is presently in the state of Kerala. Over 19 days in the state, it will cover 7 districts over 450 kilometres, before it commences in Karnataka on October 1.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long padyatra from Kanyakumari in the South of India to Srinagar in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.
Midday Travel Facts
- Distance traveled this morning (Source: Yatri Samrat Keshri Jena’s walking app): 13.71/ 19,965 steps
- Route traveled/ major settlements: Cherthala – Kuthiathodu
- Current District Name – Alappuzha
- This district is also known for of T.K Madhavan, a social reformer who led the Vaikom Satyagraha in Kerala, and who convinced Gandhiji to include the issue in the agenda of India National Movement (Source: Aparna Ashwarya, INC Communications Department research team)