Women, men, children – entire villages – dressed in yellow and red undertaking a barefoot journey to Samayapuram Mariamman Kovil. This long trail of pilgrims, we encountered on National Highway 210 started at Pudukottai and continued till we reached Samayapuram. They must have covered about 60-70kms barefoot.
Padyatra/ Nadaipayanam usually refers to the journey one undertakes by foot (mostly barefoot) to a holy shrine or place of spiritual significance and are fairly common in Tamizh Nad. Besides the famous and visible padyatras undertaken to the Palani Murugan temple, every year in August/September, droves of pilgrims from all over Tamizh Nad make their way by foot to the Basilica at Velankanni for the annual 11 day feast of Our Lady of Health. Pilgrims from Chennai cover more than 300 kms by foot to make this journey.
We encountered these pilgrims on our way back from Karaikudi, a town in Tamil Nadu.