Distances coverable on foot

A ‘normal’ person can walk about 20 or 25 km a day.

  • I could walk maybe 28km a day @ 4 km per hour, with a 1 hour lunch break and no walking in the evening.
  • This person could walk 30 – 40 km a day retracing the Dandi March of Gandhiji – ttp://journals.worldnomads.com/cam2yogi/post/12137.aspx
  • In 1989 a group of gas affected Bhopali women and children walked from Bhopal to Delhi about 744 km in 33 days that is about 22km a day. see : http://www.bhopal.net/oldsite/longwalktodelhi.html
  • It is very easy to imagine that the likes of Bhima and Arjuna or Rama and Lakshmana could do 40 km day at least.

The distance from Bangalore to Delhi is about 2000 km.

  • So if I could do it in 2000/20 = 100 days or 3 months approx.,
  • Then they could do it in half the time at least., may be a month or a month and a half.
  • Krishna however went everywhere by chariot.
  • Mathura to Dwaraka is 1100 km, a month by walk and possibly the same by a modern horse., surprisingly.
  • It may help if you have a lot of horses pulling your chariot.

If Mithila is jankapur, then the distance from Ayodhya to Mithila is about 432 km, which is a 11 day walk for the likes of Sri Rama (though about 22 days for the rest of us). The Vanaras or Tarahumara could do this in 48 hours!

  • This matches with the Ramayanam, because Viswamitra, Rama and Laksmana had several stops on the way to do different things.

How many km could Gandhiji could cover in a day? He was very fast.

  • On March 12, 1930, Gandhi and approximately 78 male satyagrahis set out, on foot, for the coastal village of Dandi some 240 miles from their starting point in Sabarmati, a journey which was to last 23 days (Jack 237). Virtually every resident of each city along this journey watched the great procession, which was at least two miles in length (Jack 237). On April 6th he picked up a lump of mud and salt (some say just a pinch, some say just a grain) and boiled it in seawater to make the commodity which no Indian could legally produce–salt (Jack 240). from : http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Dandi.html
  • That is Gandhiji’s team covered 384km in 23 days – that is 16 km a day. May be he stopped for speeches and meetings along the way.

Hanuman was even faster than Rama. He was the “son of the wind”.
He was sent to look for Sita, and also sent ahead to tell Bharata that Rama was coming back.

Vanaras : Taruhumara (Running People) tribe is somewhat like the Vanaras

Now, if you think Vanaras means long tails, please don’t read this article. It may upset you.

To me the Vanaras represent speed, strength and purity. I see them as forest dwelling civilization, based in ancient Bellary, Hampi, Vijaynagar, Kishkinda. (See ; Vanaras and Kishkinda)

So when I heard about the fast Taruhumaras of Mexico, who are psychologically unable to tell a lie… I was so impressed by their similarity to the Vanaras in that aspect, and fell in love with them.

The Vanaras were strong warriors who had many conflicts with Rakshasas and always won, whereas, the Tarahumara are peace loving and conflict avoiding. In this aspect they are different. (Vanara Rakshasa Conflicts)

The term tarahumaras itself reminds me of the telugu word taarumaaru (which means topsy-turvy!).

They run barefoot or wear such sandals : Source : http://gearist.com/2011/05/20/review-golite-tara-lite/tarahumara-sandal/

Source : “There are currently about 50,000 Tarahumara living in the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Mexico. They live in small isolated clusters with most the population concentrated in the Barranca del Cobre, or the Copper Canyon. The Tarahumara indians are part of the Uto-Aztecan indian lineage and are closely related to the Apaches of the Southwestern United States. The area of Northwest Mexico that the Tarahumara lives in is very rugged and unforgiving. The Barranca del Cobre is a chain of five very deep canyons surrounded by very tall mountains that reach almost a mile and a half above sea level. Three of the five canyons are deeper than the Grand Canyon of the United States. The area is different though because it receives much more rainfall and is covered with more vegetation. The terrain is very rugged, so much as to lead to the fact that the area has never been thoroughly mapped or explored (Lutz 66). The area is one of th e coldest in Mexico and soil conditions are very poor. It is because of this that the Tarahumara are semi-nomadic and are cave dwellers for part of the year.”

How fast and how far do they run?

Source :  “While on foot, the Tarahumara do not stroll from one place to their destination, running is used to perform everyday tasks. It is not uncommon for a Tarahumara to travel between fifty and eighty miles everyday at a “race” like pace…It is also said that a Tarahumara once ran six hundred miles in five days to deliver a very important message. The Tarahumara call themselves “raramuri” which means fleet foot or foot runner. ”

Their food : 

Source :  “The mainstay of the Tarahumara is corn but they also eat squash, beans and chili. They also utilize all plants of the Barranca del Cobre and have even been known to domesticate some wild plants as to make them more accessible for consumption. Pinole, a fine powder of toasted corn is the most common food. ” They drimk a corn beer before running which is mildly intoxicating

Their Culture :

Source : “The Tarahumara still want nothing to do with money and material things that are not important to them. Sharing is considered very noble and land sharing is common because lands rights are hereditary. The Tarahumara are a very shy, sensitive, bashful and isolated people, even within their own household. Family members only speak to each other when absolutely necessary and women are not allowed to be seen unclothed unless they are engaged in the act of lovemaking. These traits can be seen in the way that they handle major conflicts as well. When trouble arises, the Tarahumara practices passive resistance, withdrawal, and avoidance. These practices are believed to be one of the reasons that they have survived so long. One reason for their survival is their traditional cold-shouldering of other races”.

In this article Distances coverable on foot, I have explored how long it would have taken the Pandavas, and also RamaLakshmanaSita Devi and Hanuman, to cover great distances on foot. I concluded thinking that covering 40 to 50 km a day for strong people like them, was not too much to think of. But after learning about these Raramuri, I know that even that is an underestimate. Where the geography and culture demand it, people walk/run for far greater distances and far greater speeds than us sedentary urban dwellers.

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