Meet 26-year-old Yati Gaur who’s on the ‘longest walk’ of India with his dog Butter

Yati’s is in his sixth walk covered about 3,000 kms so far. He is currently in Odisha and will walk towards Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and . He calls it his “longest walk” of India, exploring the culture of every state or village he visits

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  6 Jun 2023 5:54 AM GMT
Meet Yati Gaur who’s on the ‘longest walk’ of India with his dog Butter.

Noida: This 26-year-old youth loves walking, and he is on his way to explore the country on foot. What’s interesting is he will be accompanied by his dog!

Meet Yati Gaur and his dog Butter who will travel India on foot. Currently, Yati is on his sixth walk and has reached Behrampur, Odisha, covering about 3,000 kms.

Yati started exploring India on foot in January 2021. This is his sixth walk covering the Char Dhams Badrinath, Jagannath, Rameswaram, and Dwaraka and Jyotirlingas.

A resident of Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Yati graduated in cinematography and worked for a backpacker’s hostel called The Hosteller. It was through his job that he found his passion for travelling. He started walking during the Covid-19 lockdown when all modes of transport were restricted. He hasn’t stopped since.

He vlogs his trips on his YouTube channel (The Unfolding Play) and also posts about them on his Instagram (@theunfoldingplay).

The longest walk

Yati’s walk started from Uttarakhand-Badrinath, and he has covered about 3,000 kms so far. He is currently in Odisha and will continue his walk towards Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. He calls it his “longest walk” of India, exploring the culture of every state or village he visits.

In September 2022, Yati walked about 520 kms from Rishikesh to Kedarnath, Tungnath, and Badrinath for over 40 days. In January 2023, he covered 800 kms across Rajasthan, starting from Jaipur and walking to Ajmer, Pushkar, Chittor, Bhilwara, Mount Abu, Barmer, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer.

Met Butter in Rajasthan

Yati met Butter, a stray female dog, in Rajasthan when she was a puppy. Her mother could not be found anywhere.

“She was a month-old puppy when I found her. The locals said her mother died. I carried her in my arms with the help of a belt just like a mother carries her baby. Worried that she might get sick due to weather changes, I kept her home for a while,” said Yati.

After one and a half year, as Butter grew up, Yati started walking with him. Before starting on the longest walk, he took Butter on a practice walk in Uttarakhand to understand her capability, give her commands, and know her strength.

“Being a stray dog, I did not want to restrict her like a normal pet, with a leash and typical pet food. He eats what we eat but avoids spices. While walking with Butter, I make sure he is supported with heat resistant jacket, chest harness, raincoat, and shoes to beat the heat, supported by Zoof Pets,” said Yati.

Not in a hurry to walk

With a 15-kg backpack, Yati carries only a few essentials such as a few clothes, socks, a camera, a sleeping bag and tent, and water. Yati’s day starts at 5 a.m. and ends at sunset. He stops at 10.30 a.m. during summer to avoid the heat. On average, he walks 20-25 kms a day.

Most of the time, Yati chooses a pleasant place to set up his tent, sometimes choosing hostels, ashrams, and accommodations provided by the locals.

“I take rest, sleep wherever I want, eat whatever food is available, and then walk. I’m not in a hurry to complete the task. I make the day memorable, interact with people, visit places, and move forward,” said Yati.

He added, “While I refer to Google Maps when entering villages, I prefer to take directions from the locals. They help me find shorter routes. Talking to them helps me explore many new things and know about their culture and traditions.”

Getting to know the people

“There are also cultural aspects to be covered. Whoever tells me to visit a few places, I go see those magnificent sites. I want to know the people of the country, understand each other. Not just through books, but personally,” Yati explained.

According to him, the best part of travelling through villages is the locals who greet him and welcome him with love. He says they are very different from people in cities. “When I visit a village, people first offer me water, ask if I need food, and sometimes give me some space in their home to sleep. But the people in cities are more into social media and ask for a photo to post on their social media,” said Yati.

Walk with Butter

It is not such an easy task for Butter to go on the longest walk throughout India. There are times when Butter doesn’t get suitable food but has been fortunately helped by locals. She is used to rice and idly with curd. There were times when people cooked rice for Butter because she did not get anything to eat.

In his recent trip, Butter met with an accident when Yati was trying to save dogs on the highway. “Two dogs attacked Butter, and he ran out of fear. It took me and the villagers quite a long time to find him. She lost her tail and had to undergo an operation,” said Yati.

“But I make sure Butter has more than what I have and is given all the care,” he added.

Walking since childhood

For Yati, it is not a new thing to walk long distances alone. During his childhood, when he had a fight with his mother or siblings, he used to put on his earphones and start walking. “Walking is like therapy for me. People used to ask me why I don’t take a bicycle but I love walking,” said Yati.

When asked about his travel expenses, Yati said he lost all his savings during the Covid-19 lockdown and is now supported by his family. “Thanks to my family, they are supporting me. When I wanted to walk and work, they asked me to do just one thing. Do your job or go walk, concentrate only on one thing, they said. Then I quit my job and started walking,” Yati added.

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