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|Elevation||577 m (1,893 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Alandi is a town and a municipal council in the Pune district in the state of Maharashtra, India. The town is popular as a place of pilgrimage and the resting place (Samadhi) of the 13th century Marathi Bhakti Sant Dnyaneshwar.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Government
- 5 Pilgrimage center
- 6 Economy
- 7 Education
- 8 Transport
- 9 Footnotes
- 10 Citations
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Alandi has a long history but has gained prominence in 13th century when Marathi Bhakti Sant Dnyaneshwar (1275–1296) in 1296 decided to entomb (Samadhi) himself under the then existing Siddheshwar temple.  A temple was built over the Samadhi by one Ambekar Deshpande around 1580-1600.Further additions to the temple were made during the Maratha empire era by Maratha nobles and the Peshwa. Alandi was granted to Maratha ruler Mahadji Shinde in 1778 by the Peshwa and for two decades after that the Shinde were the chief sponsors of the renovation of the temple.
In 1820-1830s, Haibatraobuva Arphalkar, a courtier of Scindia of Gwalior, started the modern Palkhi tradition of carrying sandals of Dnyaneshwar to Pandharpur during the annual wari. Haibatraobuva was laid to rest under the first step of the temple complex per his will.
Despite being a small town, it was granted municipal status during early British era.The council used to raise revenue through levying tax on pilgrims which used to number around 50,000 at the end of 19th century( 1800s).
Alandi () is located on the bank of the Indrayani River, 18.8 km (11.7 mi) in Khed Taluka of Pune District, India, near the northern edge of city of Pune. It has an average elevation of 577 meters (1,893 feet).
In 2011, Alandi had a population of 28,576. Males constitute 56% of the population and females 44%. The lingua franca is Marathi. Alandi has an average literacy rate of 73% (82% of the males, 68% of females), which is lower than the national average of 74.04%. 13% of the population is under 6 years of age. All castes are represented in the town. The closely related Maratha clans, Kurhade-Patil and Ghundare-Patil, dominate civic life of the town.
Traditionally, many Hindu widows would come to reside in places of pilgrimage such as Pandharpur and Alandi
Alandi has a Municipal council with a directly elected as Mayor (Nagaradhyaksha). In the 2016 election to the council, The BJP candidate Vaijayanti Umergekar-Kamble was elected mayor by defeating the Shiv sena candidate, Bhagyashree Randhwe. The BJP holds majority in the 18 member town council.
Alandi comes under the Pune district sub-division of Khed taluka. It is a part of Maharashtra legislative assembly constituency of Khed Alandi which in turn belongs to Shirur parliamentary constituency. At present the assembly seat is held by Shiv sena's Suresh Gore.
Alandi is a well known place of pilgrimage for Hindu Marathi people because of the town's association with the 13th century Varkari Sant Dnyaneshwar. After translating the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita from Sanskrit into Marathi, Dnyaneshwar attained sanjivan Samadhi at the Alandi Siddheshwar temple. His devotees believe that he is still alive. A temple complex was built at Sant Dnyaneshwar's samadhi and is visited by pilgrims, especially those of the Varkari sect. The Ekadashi of the dark half of each month attracts 60-70 thousand pilgrims to the town.
Every year the Paduka (symbolic sandals) of Dnyaneshwar on a Palkhi travel 21 days from Alandi to reach Pandharpur on Ashadhi Ekadashi (June or July in the Gregorian calendar). The departure of palkhi attracts 300,000- 500,000 pilgrims to the town. The palkhi procession is joined by thousands of Varkari devotees for the 150 km journey.
The biggest festival in Alandi is held every year on Kartika Vadya Ekadashi (the eleventh day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik in the Shalivana Shaka calendar). The festival falls close to the day Dnyaneshwar entered Samadhi. This festival or yatra is attended by 300,000 - 500,000 pilgrims and has a great economic impact for the local population.
Bathing in the Indrayani River has special significance for pilgrims to Alandi. However, the river is heavily polluted because of sewage discharge by towns along its course and contains high amount of Faecal coliform.
Being a pilgrim center, the stretch of Indrayani river at Alandi by tradition has been designated a sanctuary and no fishing takes place. This acts as a sanctuary for river fish such as the Deccan Mahseer.
Pilgrims perform circumambulation around the town during their visit.
Other places of religious significance
The places of interest to pilgrims in and around Alandi include:
- The Dnyaneshwar Samadhi Complex that includes the Samadhi, the Shri Sidheshwar temple and the famed Ajanvriksha tree
- The ghats on the banks of the Indrayani river.
- Ram Mandir near the banks of the Indrayani River, south of the Samadhi mandir, is one of the many large temples in Alandi
- Laxmi Narayan Mandir - is located South to Samadhi mandir, adjacent to Ram mandir, near the River ghat.
- Vitthala-Rakhumai Temple
- Dnyaneshwari Mandir - modern temple nearing completion, west of Dnyaneshwar Samadhi Complex
- Narsimha Saraswati Math - west of Dnyaneshwar Samadhi Complex en route to Dnyaneshwari Mandir
- Shree Gajanan Maharaj Temple complex, Alandi – south of Dnyaneshwar Samadhi Complex
- Dnyaneshwar's Wall - According to legend when the arrogant Sant Changdev came to visit Dnyaneshwar on a tiger with a snake as a whip, Dnyaneshwar and his siblings went to meet him riding on a wall that moved.
- Sant Jalaram Temple: This temple was built in 1960s with the same architectural design as the one in Virpur Gujarat. There is also a temple of Santoshi Mata in the same temple complex.
- Siddhabet: outside the town where Dnyaneshwar's family was exiled after being ex-communicated.
- Sambhaji Raje Bhosle Memorial: in Tulapur village, approximately 6 km from Alandi. A memorial to the son of Chhatrapati Shivaji and the second Chhatrapati of Maratha Empire.
- Dehu: the birth, work and worship place of Sant Tukaram and from where the Sant Tukaram flew to Vaikuntha on eagle.
The town also has dozens of dharmshalas that provide lodgings to pilgrims from their respective communities such as the Padmashali or Maheshwari. A number of these places also have their own shrines to different deities and Varkari Sants.
The economy of Alandi was historically based around its status as a place of pilgrimage. Although the major festivals in the town are held only twice a year, pilgrims from all over Maharashtra visit the place throughout the year. The needs of the pilgrims are catered for by groups of Brahmins who officiate at the samadhi, weddings, or religious services to the bereaved. Vendors outside the main temple complex offer materials, such as garlands and turmeric, for worshipping at the samadhi along with religious souvenirs and books. Marathi Hindu castes such as the Padmasali have built Dharmashalas (Pilgrim rest houses) that offer accommodation to pilgrims from their castes. The temple's two main festivals occur in Shaka month of Jyeshtha (late June -early July) when the palkhi departs for the Pandharpur wari and in the second half of the Shaka month of Kartik (November). During these festivals, a significant percentage of local population earns income by offering accommodation, catering and other services to the pilgrims. However, a significant number residents also have negative feelings about these festivals. The local Municipal council also collects pilgrim or goods tax for public health provision. A report for Pune metropolitan area in 1991 stated that because of religious nature of the place, industry will not be allowed in Alandi.
Alandi is close to the cities of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and belongs to the Pune Metropolitan Area. Local residents commute to Pune and Industrial areas around Pimpri for employment. The proximity to these places attracts new immigrants to the town who can not afford to live in the more expensive Pune. The local population also is employed with Indian army bases near Alandi. Recently, villages around Alandi have attracted light manufacturing Industry.
The town has many schools and colleges. A more recent addition to the economy of Alandi is the MIT Academy of Engineering college. The school has resulted in the development of student housing, eating places, markets, and shops and the overall expansion of Alandi around the college.
- Maharashtra Academy of Engineering
- Sant Dnyaneshwara Vidyalaya
- Sharadchandra Pawar Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya
- Dnyanganga English Medium School and Ramchandra International School
Alandi is served by buses operated by PMPML.The buses go to many destinations around Pune as well to many areas of Pimpri-Chinchwad and beyond. The Maharashtra state transport also runs services to and from Alandi to other destinations in the state of Maharashtra. Since the town is so close to the city of Pune, travellers from other parts of India and abroad can travel to Pune by air or train and then take taxi to Alandi.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alandi.|
- "Dnyaneshwar Samadhi Trust". Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.