Pune: The love he nurtured for Mahatma Gandhi prompted 59-year-old Brazilian national Silvio Da Silva Durate to undertake a tour of India and to make the venture memorable, he chose to pedal to the land of Gandhi on a bicycle.
Currently in the city on the solo bicycle tour which has so far taken him to 18 Indian states covering over 10,000 km of distance, Silvio says India is a "unique destination" with its diverse culture.
Silvio, who teaches history and philosophy in Brazil and has been influenced by Gandhian thoughts, was toying with the idea of visiting India to have a feel of the country that gave the world the greatest icon of truth and non-violence and shook the imperialist powers in 20th century.
Sponsored by three Brazilian companies which includes a Radio station, Silvio undertook his journey on June 27, pedalling his way through Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Orissa and other Indian states, trying to know the roots of people from where the preacher of non-violence emerged.
Acknowledging his language handicap, Silvio who knows only Portuguese said, "I started using signs and gestures and slowly picked up some English words to find directions while interacting with people on the way whom I found very friendly and honest."
Initially worried about parking his bicycle during his travel, Silvio said he gradually developed the confidence that no one would steal it.
"I even took a dip in holy river Ganga with the bicycle parked away at a distance laden with my belongings", he recalled.