Dog magnet swami gets a new canine companion this time too for 400 km Sabarimala trek

The story was the same this year, except it was Mani instead of Malu.

Dog magnet swami gets a new canine companion this time too for 400 km Sabarimala trek

Last year, Naveen Beypore had made news when pictures of an Indian dog accompanying him on his journey to Sabarimala went viral. That was Malu who is now officially Naveen’s pet dog, and lives at his home in Kozhikode. This year too Naveen decided to make his Sabarimala trip on foot, from Parassinikkadavu, since people had told him that Malu was Parassinikkadavu Muthappan’s “blessing”. And guess who accompanied him? Again, a four-legged friend.

“Manikantan joined me somewhere in Vadakara. He has a slight deformity in one leg but for the next 400 km, till I reached Sabarimala, he walked with me,” says Naveen.

So how is it that dogs seem to find him, or vice versa? “I think they know that I like animals. Dogs and cats always follow me, even so-called aggressive ones. There are many swamis who feed dogs on the way with biscuits but they don’t follow everyone. Mani decided to adopt me, I guess,” he says.

Naveen, a KSEB meter reader, has been visiting Sabarimala every year for 22 years, but it’s only in the past five years that he started going on foot. Last year, he covered a whopping 800 km by foot, where Malu was his only companion. While the journey took him 15 days last year, from Mookambika to Sabarimala, it was a 10-day trip this time.

Last year, Naveen Beypore had made news when pictures of an Indian dog accompanying him on his journey to Sabarimala went viral. That was Malu who is now officially Naveen’s pet dog, and lives at his home in Kozhikode. This year too Naveen decided to make his Sabarimala trip on foot, from Parassinikkadavu, since people had told him that Malu was Parassinikkadavu Muthappan’s “blessing”. And guess who accompanied him? Again, a four-legged friend.

“Manikantan joined me somewhere in Vadakara. He has a slight deformity in one leg but for the next 400 km, till I reached Sabarimala, he walked with me,” says Naveen.

So how is it that dogs seem to find him, or vice versa? “I think they know that I like animals. Dogs and cats always follow me, even so-called aggressive ones. There are many swamis who feed dogs on the way with biscuits but they don’t follow everyone. Mani decided to adopt me, I guess,” he says.

Naveen, a KSEB meter reader, has been visiting Sabarimala every year for 22 years, but it’s only in the past five years that he started going on foot. Last year, he covered a whopping 800 km by foot, where Malu was his only companion. While the journey took him 15 days last year, from Mookambika to Sabarimala, it was a 10-day trip this time.
But I never felt I was making the trip alone as I would keep talking to Mani. Every morning, by 3.30 am , I would start out, and walk till 9.30-10 am. I would then rest in some temple and start again by 3.30-4 pm. I would walk again for another 5-6 hours and retire for the night in a wayside temple. Most temples allowed Mani to sleep next to me. If they didn’t, I would sleep outside, with him beside me,” says Naveen.
Last year, Malu travelled back to Kozhikode by bus, with Naveen. “I was waiting at the KSRTC stand, thinking I will walk back, since Malu was with me, but a bus driver, who had seen Malu in the news, informed the KSRTC officials and they welcomed both of us, he recalls. “‘If not her, who should we take in as a passenger?’ they asked. Malu slept happily through the 12-hour journey.”

The story was the same this year, except it was Mani instead of Malu. “He was waiting at the foot of the hill when I came down from the Sabarimala temple and identified me from the milling crowd. Since we already have Malu at home, I had to give Mani to a friend on the way. He took him in his car.”

Naveen plans to make his pilgrimage by foot next year too. “I believe that I will get a new canine companion next time too. It will all depend on Ayyappan,” Naveen signs off.
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