10/10/10 Arunachala Children’s Walk


One of the world’s biggest one-day events for the environment occurred last weekend, on Sunday, 10/10/10. 350.org held a ‘Global Work Party’, asking people around the world to do something that will help deal with global warming in their own city or community. They reported that 7347 events were held in 188 countries. To read more about this, go to the 350.org website. Locally, a number of schools came together and held an “Arunachala Children’s Walk,” as one of the 7347 world-wide events. 

The program started with a skit on the environment written and performed by the children, and then concluded with the “Arunachala Children’s Walk,” performing the 14 km pradakshina (circumambulation) around the holy Arunachala hill. This post shows photos of this event.

We all gathered at the Children’s Park, just west of Sri Ramanasramam. This was the sign at the park entrance, advertising the event. It lists the organizers of the event:

Arunachala Village School Trust
The Forest Way (a major Arunachala reforestation organization)
Ananda Social and Educational Trust
Sinam NGO
Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network
Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation (another Arunachala reforestation organization)

You can tell from the sign, mostly in Tamil, that the target for this event is local Tamilians, not the Western community in Tiruvannamalai.


A sign in English is on a bullock cart that will lead the walk today.


A few people walk into the Children’s Park. The Arunachala peak is in the background.


There is a medical van parked here. With all the children walking, they are taking care that no one gets overheated or hurt. The van is from “Medical Camps India,” who offer a mobile clinic that goes into villages to provide medical care.


As provisions for the walkers, there is a big tank of drinking water, and many bunches of bananas.


The children are gathered in a big circle.


Western and Indian adults stand outside the circle, watching and talking.


Many, many children are here, hundreds, maybe one thousand.


In the center of the circle, there is a skit going on.


A boy in rough cloth and a green face leads what looks to be two birds, with colorful outstretched wings.


Some of the children are Western. One of the schools is attended by both Western and Indian kids. Instruction is in both English and Tamil, and they hope the children will end up bilingual.



The birds fall down, perhaps to die from pollution.


This Indian girl is the narrator. A big job to speak to 1000 people. All the skit and narration is in Tamil, so we  just  have to guess what is going on.


Towards the end, a boy carries this ‘Closed’ sign around. Perhaps the companies polluting the area are closed now. 


These boys seem like trees. Someone comes to them and they fall down, perhaps the tree was cut down. Bad for the forest!


The many children watch, paying good attention.


The white-haired gent is David Godman, known for the many books about Sri Ramana Maharshi he has written. The woman next to him is Abihita, the founder of the Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation. She is one of the people responsible for the reforestation of Arunachala. She has been working on this since the early 1990’s.  

Boys, hamming it up for the camera. They love having their photo taken.


This boy is a member of some kind of local Red Cross kid’s organization.


More boys.


The girls are aware of the camera, but not so aggressive in having their photos taken.


The bananas are loaded into the medical van now.


It has a sign in front. It will be driving with the walkers.


The kids have formed into groups, boys and then girls from several schools.


Each school has their own uniforms. These boys go to a government school.


The girls at the school, in white ‘punjabis’ with a blue duppata (scarf).


I think girls are in the Red Cross group as well.


Girls from a private school, green checked punjabi, green duppata.


Boys from another school.


Girls from the same school.


Now a line has formed, many children wait for the walk to start.



They get to the park gate.


The bullocks are hitched in front of the cart.


As the second vehicle in the parade, there is traditional music, two drummers and two reed players. There are speakers, and big batteries to provide power during the five hour walk today.


The reed players go at it.


Almost ready to go.


OK, now the bullock carts that lead the walkers move out onto the street.



The walkers start moving too. Each group carries a sign.


They are out on the road now. The walk has started.

The government school kids are first.


First the boys.


You can see all the energy of the kids today.



Then the girls, running to catch up with the main group.


Some wave at the camera going by. They are all conscious of it.



Here is the next group. The green school uniform.

Here are boys in red pants and blue and red plaid shirts. They attend Ramana Maharshi Matriculation Higher Secondary School.

Running to catch up.


The girls from the school run, too. They look happy and excited.

Here is another school. I can’t read the sign.


At the end of the parade are young Indian women, maybe local college students.


The water wagon is also at the end of the walkers.


As are a few bullock carts. They are here to carry tired kids, exhausted from the long walk today. Right now a few just get a free ride.

This is several kilometers later, on Girivalam Road, the main road used to walk around Arunachala. The groups are still fairly well organized, with the signs leading the way.


More kids ride the bullock carts now.


The medical van is trying to get in front of the walkers.

A good crowd of children walk today.


These girls carry the banner now.


The bullock cart is loaded with kids. Arunachala is visible in the background.

A sadhu with his pet monkey.


The boys are excited and want to shake the monkey’s hand.


To retreat from all the attention, they monkey climbs to a safe spot.


Adults walk at the end of the group.


This is a big event for the children. They are able to take part in something they will remember for a long time. To change the consciousness of children about the environment is critical for the process of healing the planet. They are the future of India. With the right ideas and attitudes, they can help India play its needed role in fighting global warming. This will be a major problem in some coastal parts of India, with homes for millions of people being flooded. Hopefully, these children, as adults, will be ready to play a part in the solution.

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3 Responses to “10/10/10 Arunachala Children’s Walk”

  1. Anu Says:

    This is wonderful! what better way to get the kids aware of the issues at such an early age!!

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