12,000 km on foot across 18 states

This six-foot-tall figure in a kurta and a rucksack on his broad shoulders walks on the Indian road unfazed by the curious gaze he receives from passersby. These sartorial fashion choices are a deliberate attempt to attract attention, says Max Chandra, who is on a mission to walk 12,000 km across India for raising funds.

The 47-year-old’s project is generating funds for his charity foundation — One Step at a
Time — that has projects to promote education, provide school equipment and help people in disaster-hit zones.

And to generate money for these activities, he has chosen the unusual way of walking and covering 28 states on foot.

“It is a deliberate attempt to make people curious. The more people know about my mission, the more people will talk about this unusual way of generating funds, and more helpful it will be for my foundation,” he added.

Born to a German father and an Indian mother, he started his epic journey in Novembner, 2011 from Goa and has crossed Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. He reached the Capital recently after covering Rishikesh, Chandigarh, Simla, Manali and then back to Delhi via Punjab and Haryana.

He has so far covered 6,000 km in 15 states and has an equal distance and 13 states to go. “It will take me another year to complete the walk,” says Chandra, who has been self-financing the effort.

“I walk for three months, then take a month’s break to work on my projects and recuperate. Then I walk again for three months and so on,” said Chandra.

Chandra plans his own itinerary, starts walking by six in the morning and stops for five minutes after an hour-long walk. At times he sleeps under the stars and if he is lucky to have received an invitation from a local, he will stay with him. His daily routine also includes washing clothes, making notes and looking at the pictures he has taken during the course of the day.

He tries to cover 40 km a day. “I can’t plan in advance as there are so many factors:  weather, terrain and area. So, it is a daily process,” he said.

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