Bhubaneswar, Oct 24 (PTI) A unique 140 km ‘eco pad yatra’ by over 100 monks and nuns of the Drukpa lineage to raise awareness on environmental preservation was launched here Wednesday.

The 8-day ‘Eco Pad Yatra’ was flagged off by Odisha Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda. The yatra also aims to highlight Odisha as an important Buddhist heritage site.

The Drukpa Lineage (the “Dragon Lineage”) is an integral part of Himalayan and Central Asian legacy and culture. Dating back to the Indian scholar-saint Naropa, the Drukpa Lineage is woven throughout the history of Buddhism, India, the Himalayas and Central Asia, the organisers of the event said in a statement.

The Gyalwang Drukpa, Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, over 100 monks and nuns of the Drukpa lineage and more than 200 devotees from across the world are undertaking the journey.

The ‘eco pad yatra’ led by the Gyalwang Drukpa and Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche will cover five important Buddhist sites, including Bhubaneswar.

The sites are Udayagiri (known as the city of major stupas and monasteries), Dhauli (famous Shanti Stupa), Lalitgiri (known for its enormous brick monasteries) and Ratnagiri (remains of 300 minor stupas).

The yatra will also cover the Buddhist heritage sites in the areas.

The Minister said the yatra is being undertaken with an important mission to raise awareness about preservation of our environment among the people of Odisha.

Odisha has many important Buddhist heritage sites and this ‘eco pad yatra’ will bring attention on them and the important lessons from Lord Buddha on peace, universal brotherhood and harmony with nature, Panda said.

Speaking at the event, Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche said, “In our modern lifestyle, we have forgotten the ancient times as well as mother nature both of which hold important lessons for us.”

He said the yatra aims to remind people of both these important aspects and the important teachings of Buddha.

“We look forward to motivating people along our walking journey as walking on earth helps us build a relationship with the nature and also connect with people on ground and inspire them to take care of their environment and spread awareness on the same among others,” he said.

During the course of the yatra, the participants will offer daily prayers for peace and compassion, perform large-scale cleanings of the terrain along its route, and will campaign amongst the local citizens about the importance of preserving nature and sustainability.

The event will also promote awareness about the Buddhist heritage sites of Odisha, where cultural relics and monastic structures have been preserved for hundreds of years, the statement said.

The ‘eco pad yatra’ will conclude on October 31 in Ratnagiri, the statement added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.