Twenty-five women on way to Kanyakumari from Pune on bicycles to spread Swami Vivekananda’s message reached here on Friday.
Of them 22 are students at Shrimati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University, Pune. They started pedalling from Pune on December 21 and have covered more than 1,100km.
Vasanti Jayant Joshi (52), a lecturer of the university, who leads the expedition said that the aim of the expedition was to spread Swami Vivekananda’s message of empowering youth and women, and protecting the environment from pollution.
“We will cover more than 1,600km when we reach Kanyakumari on January 11,” she said.
“On Friday, we started from Krishnagiri and reached Salem at around 1.30pm. We will start from Salem and proceed to Karur on Saturday. We start pedalling at 6.30am and cover a distance of about 100km a day,” she added.
Ms. Vasanti said that the girls were given training for three months to prepare them physically and mentally. Three vehicles accompany them — one in the front to guide them, the next carries spare cycles and parts, and the third, a pantry car.
“The rally has taught us discipline, team building and has improved our level of confidence. It will change our personality,” said Gayathri Phadnis, and Monica Jadav, students.
“This is a different experience for us as we get a chance to interact with people from different backgrounds,” said Sadhana Padaal, and Komal Mali, students.
The students said Ms. Vasanti, the first woman to peddle successfully to the top of Khardung La (18,350 feet above the sea level and the highest motorable road in the world), was their source of inspiration.
They will take part in the 151st birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda organised by the Vivekananda Kendra in Kanyakumari on January 12. They will return to Pune by train the next day.
In Salem they were received by members of the Junior Chamber International, Salem Metrocity.
These students started their journey from Pune and will reach Kanyakumari on January 11