Published: Published Date – 07:01 PM, Sat – 19 November 22
Mancherial: There are various means of transport to explore temples in remote areas, right from flights to trains to buses and cars or motorbikes. But a bicycle, for most people, would be the least preferred.
Not for Padma Sandesh Gupta though. Pushing physical and mental limitations, Gupta has successfully completed a marathon cycle trip, covering over 15,000 kilometers and returned home here on Saturday.
A crusader for animals from the town, Gupta accomplished the unusual endeavor in about five months.
“I visited 10 jyotirlingas or popular abodes of Lord Shiva in nine States and the popular hill station Mount Abu in Rajasthan in the trip. It was a great experience and a learning curve,” he told ‘Telangana Today.’
The activist embarked on the trip with a noble cause – Save animals and save nature – on June 26. He first visited Sri Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga at Parli in Maharashtra and then headed to popular temples of Lord Shiva in Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Telangana. He spread the message of his trip by interacting with motorists and locals.
The 31-year old feels the bicycle trip was beneficial in many ways compared to travelling by cars, motorbikes and buses. “One can meet strangers and get to know about people. You can learn how people are supportive to others, speak to you and treat you. Various shades of humanity can be found if you commute by cycle. One must try this mode of transit to explore a region,” he said.
The son of a fruit merchant, Gupta said he covered around 120 kilometres to 180 kilometres a day, taking shelter in temples on the way. He lost weight too, 12 kilograms to be precise, but felt rejuvenated to have visited the shrines and sensitized the public over deaths of animals caused by vehicles on roads.
To his credit, Gupta had pedaled from Mancherial town to Varanasi to create awareness on animals deaths caused by vehicles on national highways, covering a distance of 2,500 kilometers, from June 27 to August 4 in 2021. He went on a 4,000 kilometre-expedition from Mancherial to Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu for the same cause the same year.
He had founded Friends Animal Trust, a Mancherial-based voluntary organization in 2017. The trust is known for feeding monkeys inhabit on the premises of prominent temples of the district and neighboring Peddapalli and Jagtial district, and conducts final rites of animals that die on roads. It seeks donations of barely Rs 1 from users of social media platforms.