It is pity that walking tours are rare in these days of cycles, buses, motor cars, trains and jetliners. In ancient days such tours were common. They were undertaken mainly for religious purposes, be it to Rameswaram or too far off Kashi and Pariah. In some cases for people went long distances on foot attending marriages. It might be thought that on both these occasions, the middle class would go in carts. A number of carts would have been engaged but even five or six carts would be no good to accommodate dozens of people and naturally several men and women should follow the carts on foot behind or in front talking or joking with the men and women inside the carts till they too sought relief from the crowded comfort within the band by exchanging their places with the walkers. But children and old people used to be permanent occupants of the carts.
The advantages of walking tours are manifold. Walking gives exercise to the body and fresh air for the lungs both of which are conducive to health. The difficulties experienced on the way would harden the bodies of walkers and create a feeling of self-reliance and ability to overcome hardships.
A walking tour affords a splendid opportunity to come in contact with a variety of people and converse with them and thus understand the widely differing nature of men’s thoughts, realize their shortcomings and help to evolve a feeling of fellowship. The large number of places visited on the way would open our eyes to the fact that this world is quite a large one and could give us chances of studying the customs and habits of the inhabitants. Apart from these, such tours afford ample scope for closely observing nature in its different settings and help us to appreciate its beauty. Thrills of Walking Tours are many.
All this is a liberal education by itself tending to enlarge our mental horizon, widen our sympathies and enrich our experiences.
Mostly the school excursions are now-a-days made by rail and bus, yet in visiting a place like Nalanda, there is simple scope for walking tours and student excursions will do well ot undertake them under expert guidance - under teachers who could direct their attention to various aspects of nature, beautiful scenery, the varieties of plants and animal life and the different kinds of rocks that lie on the way.