The ever rising devotion of lakhs of people have kept alive, a one thousand year old tradition of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram Palkhi (Palanquin) in Maharashtra. Every year in the Hindu month of Aashad (June& July), the palkhi of Sant Dnyaneshwar starts from Alandi and that of Sant Tukram starts from Dehu. On the eleventh day of the first half of the month the Palkhi reaches the holy town of Pandharpur. The journey from Alandi & Dehu to Pandharpur lasts for 22 days.
This year the palkhi procession will be starting from 29th of June. The total number of devotees to march along the palkhi route is expected to be 2.50 lakhs. The devotees or pilgrims are called as ‘Warkaris’ and they march in groups, each group of Warkaris is called as ‘Dindi’. The Journey from Dehu and Alandi to Pandharpur is called as ‘Wari’. The Warkaris walk nearly 450 kilometres during their journey to reach Pandharpur and offer their prayers to lord Vitthal (A reincarnation of Lord Vishnu). The Palkhi carries the silver padukas (footsteps) of Sant Tukaram & Sant Dnyneshwar. The tradition of carrying Padukas to the Wari was introduced by the youngest son of Tukaram in the year 1685. Since then Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram Padukas are carried by pilgrims to Pandharpur to pay tribute to the God Vitthal. Earlier both the padukas of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram were carried in the same Palkhi but after the year 1830 they were carried in two different Palkhis to Pandharpur because of some disagreements in the Tukaram Family.
The Palkhi procession is one of the most colourful and lively carnivals of Maharashtra. Lakhs of pilgrims march together for days, only with one aim of paying respect to their Gods. The Warkaris keep the spirit going by singing Bhajans (Devotional Songs) composed by Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram during their entire journey. The atmosphere is driven by the strong and intense desires of the Warkaris to reach their destination and offer prayers.Pune city becomes witness to the vibrations of prayers and chants as it is geographically well positioned on the route between Alandi, Dehu and Pandharpur. The Warkaris mainly comprise of the farmer community of Maharashtra but is also backed by academicians, professionals, foreigners from all over the world and people from urban areas within Maharashtra and nearby states.Around 30 thousand peoplefrom Pune join the Wari journey annually. It is an exceptional experience to be a part of the journey.
The state government has allocated Rs. 450 Cr for the development of holy places like Alandi, Dehu and Pandharpur in the year 2011. The first instalment of Rs 165 cr has been released and the money will be utilised mainly to develop the Palkhi route, to provide water, food, healthcare and sanitation facilities to the warkaris. Traffic regulations are altered and routes in Pune city and other small town’s en-route Pandharpur are cleared and monitored by police bandobast during the Palkhi. Many NGO’s are operational to ensure smooth journey for the Warkaris. The Maharashtra pollution control board is actively involved in cleaning up the palkhi trails before and after the palkhi. The State government is all geared up for preserving and nurturing it’s one of the most honoured and oldest traditions of the Palkhi.
Pandharpur Waari 2013
Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi from Dehu begins on June 29, 2013. Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi from Alandi begins on June 30, 2013
Pandharpur Yatra Snaps