Bhubaneswar: The 140-km-long Eco Pad Yatra, an initiative by Drukpa lineage environmentalists Gyalwang Drukpa, Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche along with several monks, nuns and devotees from around the world, concluded at Ratnagiri here Wednesday.
The Yatra was aimed at spreading awareness on environmental preservation and highlighting Odisha as an important Buddhist heritage site.
The eight-day-long Yatra started from Bhubaneswar October 24 after the Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda flagged it off.
The participants of the Yatra traversed through five important Buddhist sites, including Dhauli, Khandagiri, Udayagiri, Lalitgiri before concluding at Ratnagiri.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also met Gyalwang Drukpa and Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche and expressed his support for the initiative. Patnaik thanked Drukpa lineage for highlighting the important heritage sites of the state through their Yatra.
Speaking on the occasion, Gyalwang Drukpa said, “Our Pad Yatra aimed at reminding people about the importance of the Mother Nature and teachings of Buddha. The love and support we received from local population all along the way have given us a lot of hope.”
“We believe that locals will continue to contribute towards saving the Mother Nature and living in peace with their environment,” he added.
During the journey, Gyalwang reminded the participants to be mindful and avoid killing any insects or animals unwittingly. The participants performed Mahakala prayer in the holy place of Dhauli to seek protection and purify all obstacles leading to spiritual enlightenment. The yatris also visited Ganesh cave, dating back to the first century BC in Udayagiri, and performed smoke puja with a strong belief and good heart to seek peace.
Gyalwang Drukpa along with participants was received at Lalitgiri by Pradip Bhuyan, president of Buddhyan. It is one of the important heritage sites of the region and was once home to a prominent Buddhist academic institution as well as several relics and archaeological treasures. Along the way, the Pad Yatris also undertook a massive cleaning at Khandagiri and on Paradip beach. They collected toxic litter and educated locals on environmental preservation.
Over 1,000 kg of waste, largely comprising of plastic water bottles and snack packages were collected by the participants during the course of their eight-day journey.
The local population were thanked for their warm welcome and generosity shown to the Pad Yatris throughout their journey.