Mangaluru, Jan 07, 2017: Thousands of Ayyappa devotees visit the famous Shabarimala shrine every year by bus, train or private vehicles. But, that’s not the case with Naveen of Kurnadu in Bantwal taluk. Naveen has been on a unique mission since the past ten years.
As an Ayyappa Vrithadhari every year, he does not reach the shrine by means of any mode of transport, but by foot. He sets out on a Padayatra to Shabarimala every year not from one place, but from different shrines.
In the past, he had commenced his Padayatra to Shabarimala from Shirdi, Kollur Mookambika Temple, Tirupathi and other shrines. Naveen commenced this year’s Padayatra from the Vaishnodevi shrine at Jammu Kashmir on October 29 and intends to cover a distance of 3,500 kms to Shabarimale amid all hardships. Earlier this week he arrived in Tokkottu during the course of his Padayatra.
He recalled some of the hardships he faced during the Yatra owing to note ban and also revealed how he was assisted by some good hearted people including a priest as well as a soldier named Tilak in Delhi who has been in regular touch with him.
Citing another instance, he said he was accosted by two cyclists within a few minutes of his commencement of his yatra from Vaishnodevi shrine. Naveen says for a moment he was terrified, but the strangers handed over six notes of one hundred rupee notes and left asking him to visit their shrine nearby. "As they left, I switched on my torch and shed light towards the way they left but saw none," said Naveen and described this as one of his most memorable experiences.