Pandharpur Wari

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The Wari is undertaken in honour of the god Vithoba.

Pandharpur Wari or Wari (Vari) is an annual pilgrimage (yatra) to Pandharpur - the seat of the Hindu god Vithoba in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in honour of the deity. Palakhis (palanquin processions) carrying the paduka (foot prints) of various saints - most notably Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram - from the Varkari (Warkari, "one who performs the Wari") sect (which venerates Vithoba), are taken from their respective shrines to Pandharpur. The tradition is more than 700 to 800 years old.[1][2][3] Dnyaneshwar's palakhi leaves from Alandi, while Tukaram's begins at Dehu; both in Pune district of Maharashtra. This March on foot from various locations in Maharashtra to Vithoba temple, Pandharpur, attracts a total of over a million pilgrims[citation needed]. The journey takes 21 days.Numerous palakhis join the main Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar palkhis that starts from Dehu and Alandi respectively. The wari culminates at the Vithoba temple on Ashadhi Ekadashi.[4] Devotees from Maharashtra and nearby areas set out for Pandharpur, wearing holy basil beads and singing the glories of Vithoba and songs like "Gyanba Tukaram", commemorating the saints.[5] Upon reaching Pandharpur on Ashadi Ekadashi, these devotees take a holy dip in the sacred Chandrabhaga River/Bhima River before proceeding to visit the Vitthal temple.

History[edit]

There are various views on the origins of the Wari. Devotees of Vitthal were holding pilgrimages prior to the 14th century.[6] According to one theory, Vitthalpant, the father of the Varkari saint Dnyaneshwar began the Wari to visit Pandharpur in the month of Ashadha and Kartik. The Wari is generally regarded to exist for more than 800 years.[7][8]

Another theory credits Dnyaneshwar ( 13th century) and the saint Tukaram (17th century) to have started the pilgrimage. They used to journey to Pandharpur by foot for fifteen days, reaching Pandharpur's Vithoba temple on Ashadhi Ekadashi.[9]

The tradition of carrying the paduka (sandals) of the sants was started by the youngest son of Tukaram, Narayan Maharaj, in 1685. Further changes were brought to the pilgrimage in the 1820s by descendants of Tukaram and a devotee of Dnyneshwar called Haibatravbaba Arphalkar who was a courtier of Scindias,the Maratha rulers of Gwalior.[10][11] Haibatravbaba is credited with the organization of the wari in use today.This involved carrying the paduka in a palkhi,having horses and organizing the devotees or varkaris in dindis[12]

Location of Pandharpur and the starting place of important palkhis

Vari in present times[edit]

The Varkaris - whose patron deity is Vithoba - undertake the annual pilgrimage (Wari) to Pandharpur, reaching there on Ashadhi Ekadashi, the eleventh lunar day (Ekadashi) of the bright fortnight (Shukla paksha) of the Hindu month of Ashadha (June - July). Pilgrims carry palanquins of the saints from their samadhi shrines.[13][14] This is said to be the World's largest and oldest people movement where people gather on a specific day every year and perform a walk of a distance of around 250 km. Pandharpur Ashadi Ekadashi Wari journey has been honoured by World Book of Records, London under the title 'One of the Most visited places in a day'.[15]

The Wari begins on the 8th/9th lunar day of the waning moon in the Hindu month of Jyeshtha and reaches a day before Ashadhi Ekadashi at Pandharpur. People from various castes and socio-economic backgrounds participate in the Wari, with the common goal to reach Pandharpur.

Along with the Dindi (palakhi) procession, service (seva) to the poor and needy, like Amrut Kalash (annadana - donation of food), Narayan seva, medical help and building and repairing of rural infrastructure, is done. This is known as Seva dindi.

From last two years "Niramal Wari" has also started to keep all villages clean during the possession of Wari.

Tukaram Maharaj palkhi (palanquin)

It is believed that participation in Ashadi Dindi and Seva Dindi helps an individual in many ways by bringing good health, peace & prosperity in his life. Chanting the continuous glory of the God in the Ashadi Dindi procession and Seva Dindi purifies an individual, there is an inner cleansing that takes place in Mind, Body and Spirit and the participants tend to lose their individual identities and experience bliss. It develops all aspects of human personality and helps us understand the true purpose of Life.[16]

There are two routes on which Wari performs. Dehu - Pandharpur and other Alandi - Pandharpur.

Route of Tukaram Palkhi[edit]

The pilgrims known as "warkaris" starts the main pilgrimage from Dehu in Pune district on foot, carrying the palkhi (palanquin) of Saint Tukaram, a renowned devotee of Lord Vitthala, a form of lord Vishnu. It is known as Sant Tukaram’s Palkhi procession. It starts from Dehu & reaches Pandharpur via Akurdi, Loni Kalbhor, Yavat, Varvand, Baramati, Indapur, Akluj & Wakhri respectively.

Dehu - Pandharpur Palkhi Schedule[edit]

Day Tithi Starting Location First Break Lunch Break Post lunch Break Night Stay
1 5th July 2018 -- -- -- Start from Dehu Inamdar saheb wada, Dehu Dehu
2 6th July 2018 Dehu 1. Angadhshaha Baba Abhang Aarti 2. Chincholi Paduka Abhang Aarti Nigdi -- Aakurdi Vitthal Mandir
3 7th July 2018 Aakurdi Vitthal Mandir 1. H. A Colony Pimpri Shri Vitthal Nagar 2. Kasarwadi Dapodi 1. Shivajinagar 2. Shri Sant Tukaram Maharaj Paduka Mandir, F.C.Road, Pune Shri Nivdunga Vitthal Mandir, Nanapeth, Pune
4 8th July 2018 -- -- -- -- Shri Nivdunga Vitthal Mandir, Nanapeth, Pune
5 9th July 2018 Shri Nivdunga Vitthal Mandir, Nanapeth, Pune Bhairobanala Hadapsar 1. Manjari Farm 2. Loni Kalbhor Railway Station Loni Kalbhor Vitthal Mandir
6 10th July 2018 Loni Kalbhor Vitthal Mandir Kunjeervadi Fata Urali Kanchan Jawjibuwachi Wadi Yavat Shri Bhairavnath Mandir
7 11th July 2018 Yavat Shri Bhairavnath Mandir -- Bhandgaon Kedgaon-Chaufula Varvand Shri Vitthal Mandir
8 12th July 2018 Varvand Shri Vitthal Mandir Bhagvat Vasti Patas 1. Roti, Abhang Aarati. 2. Hingani Wada 3. Vasunde 4. Kharadwadi Undwadi Gavalyachi
9 13th July 2018 Undwadi Gavalyachi Undwadi Pathar Brhanpur 1. Morewadi 2. Saraf Petrol Pump, Baramati Baramati Sanskrutik Bavan, Baramati
10 14th July 2018 Baramati Sanskrutik Bavan, Baramati 1. Motibaug 2. 1.Pimpli Grape 3.Limitech Katewadi Bhavaninagar Sakhar Karkhana Sansar Maruti Mandir
11 15th July 2018 Sansar Maruti Mandir Belvadi(Golringan) Belvadi 1. Lasurne Junction 2. Lasurne Anthurne
12 16th July 2018 Anthurne 1. Shelgaon Fata 2. 54 Fata Gotandi -- Nimgaon Ketki
13 17th July 2018 Nimgaon Ketki 1. Tarangwadi-Cannol 2. Gokulicha Odha Indapur(Golringan) -- Indapur
14 18th July 2018 -- -- -- -- Indapur
15 19th July 2018 Indapur 1. Gokulicha Odha, Vitthalwadi 2. Vadapuri 3. Surwad Bawada -- Sarati
16 20th July 2018 Sarati Mane Vidyalay(Golringan) -- -- Akluj, Shri vitthal Mandir
17 21th July 2018 Akluj, Shri vitthal Mandir Malinagar(Ubhe ringan) Malinagar 1. Payaricha Pul 2. Kadam Vasti 3. Shripur Sakhar Karkhana Borgaon (Borgav)
18 22th July 2018 Borgaon -- Malkhambi 1. Tondale Bondale(Dhava) 2. Tappa Pirachi Kuroli Gayran
19 23th July 2018 Pirachi Kuroli Gayran -- Pirachi Kuroli 1. Vaghad Vasti 2. Bhandi Shegaon 3. Bajirao Vihir Ubhe Ringan Wakhari
20 24th July 2018 Vakhari -- -- Paduka Abhang Aarti(Ubhe Ringan) Pandharpur

Route of Dnyaneshwar palkhi[edit]

Dnyaneshwar's palkhi (palanquin), holding the footwear of the saint, is carried with honour in a silver bullock cart from Alandi to Pandharpur.

The pilgrims starts from Alandi in Pune district on foot, carrying the palkhi (palanquin) of Sant Dnyaneshwar’s Palkhi and reaches Pandharpur via Pune, Saswad, Jejuri, Lonand, Taradgaon, Phaltan, Natepute, Malshiras, Velapur, Shegaon & Wakhri to Pandharpur.

Both the palkhis meet at Pune, then at Wakhari and then further meet just before Pandharpur.

Besides these, two more Waris viz the Chaitra (or spring - first lunar month) and Maghi (eleventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar) Ekadashis are also deemed to be important. The later two are particularly attended by devotees from neighbouring Karnataka.[17]

Alandi - Pandharpur Palkhi Schedule[edit]

Day Tithi Starting Location First Break Lunch Break Post lunch Break Night Stay
1 Jeshtha Vadya 7 -- -- -- Alandi
2 Jeshtha Vadya 7 Alandi 1 Thorlya Paduka Aarti, 2 Bhosari Phata Phule nagar Sangamwadi Palkhi Vithoba Mandir, Pune
3 Jeshtha Vadya 8 -- -- -- -- Palkhi Vithoba Mandir, Pune
4 Jeshtha Vadya 9 Pune Shindechatri Aarti Hadapsar 1. Uruli Devachi 2. Vadki Nala 3. Zendewadi Saswad
5 Jeshtha Vadya 10 -- -- -- -- Saswad
6 Jeshtha Vadya 11 Saswad Borawake Mala Yamai Shivri Sakurde Jejuri
7 Jeshtha Vadya 12 Jejuri 1. Doudaj Shiv 2. Doundaj Valhe -- Valhe
8 Jeshtha Vadya 13 Valhe Pimprekhurd Vihir Neera Neera Snan Lonand
9 Aashadh Shuddha 1 -- -- -- -- Lonand
10 Aashadh Shuddha 2 -- -- Lonand Chandobach Limb Taradgaon
11 Aashadh Shuddha 3 Taradgaon 1. Datta Mandir, Kalaj 2. Surawadi Nimbhoreodha Vadjal Phaltan
12 Aashadh Shuddha 4 Phaltan Vidani Pimprad Nimlak phata Barad
13 Aashadh Shuddha 5 Barad Sadhubuvacha Odha Dharmapuri Patbandhare Bangla Canol Shingnapur Phata – Panaskar wadi Natepute
14 Aashadh Shuddha 6 Natepute -- Mandavi Odha 1. Sadashivnagar 2.Yeliv Malshiras
15 Aashadh Shuddha 7 Malsiras Khudus phata Vinjori Dnyaneshwar nagar Dhavbavi mount Velapur
16 Aashadh Shuddha 8 Velapur Dhakurbuva Samadhi Tondale Bondale Sant Sopandeo Bhet Bhandishegaon
17 Aashadh Shuddha 9 -- -- Bhandishegaon Bajiravachi Vihir Wakhari
18 Aashadh Shuddha 10 Wakhari -- Pandharpur -- Pandharpur

Management in Wari[edit]

The whole is divided into a sub groups called as Dindi. There are more than 200 Dindi on each route. Each dindi has between 100 and 500 members. The palkhi is at the centre of the Wari procession and around half the number of Dindi are ahead of the palkhi and the other half are behind. All Dindis are assigned their number and position in the procession and the sequence is strictly followed. The numbers are mentioned as follows: e.g. 5th Dindi ahead of palkhi. There are many unregistered dindis also who join Wariwho walk well ahead or extreme back of the official Wari procession.

Tukaram Maharaj palkhi (palanquin) Rath

The timetable of Wari route is published well in advance and is strictly followed. It is well defined and minute details are made available including starting location, the location of breaks including lunch, rest, night stay location. Every morning, early dawn, after worshiping the Saint's footwear, the palkhi sets out at 6am. A Tutari (wind instrument) is blown thrice to alert all Warkaris. At the first signal, all Warkaris get ready to leave. At the second signal, the dindis stand in the queue as per designated sequence and at the third signal, they starts walking. After 4 to 5 km, they take a quick break for breakfast. They take break for lunch as per the given schedule.[18]

Every dindi has one truck or a similar vehicle where the luggage and food material is kept. This is used at the night stay location everyday. The Warkari just carry the emergency material, Tal, Abhang book etc. during walk. The management ensures that the tents are set up and the food is prepared before the respective dindi arrives at the location. The dindis also decide the sequence in which the Abhang to be sung. Most of the dindi members know all the abhang but the newcomers carry the small book while walking. At any point of time, only one Abhnag is sung in while dindi. The varkari who adorns the garland of Tulsi is called as Malkari. The person who carries Veen in the entire journey is called the Veenekari. These persons have a special status in the dindi and whole management is driven by them. Any dispute during travel between the dindis is resolved by then at the stay.

From last few years, the additions of doctors have improved the medical facilities in the Wari. The doctors do take care of the members who have got infected or become weak during travel due to walking. There are few professional doctors who close their city practice devote their 21 days in the wari and take care of the dindi people every year.

The stay arrangements of each dindi are well defined and planned at every location. Most of the dindis make stay in the temples available in village or in the tents.

Economic Impact[edit]

The Ashadhi wari has tremendous economic impact on the town of Pandharpur.This is the period when demand for equipment and items associated with worship of Lord Vitthal goes through the roof.The estimated one million pilgrims,either varkaris traveling with the palkhi or independent travelers also need accommodation which is provided by the permanent Mathas and temporary lodging houses.The period also sees demand for temporary restaurants and also for groceries such as milk and rice because a number of devotees cook their own food[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Warkari wave sweeps Pune city, Pimpri-Chinchwad". Indianexpress.com. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
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  4. ^ "Ashadi Ekadashi , Pandharpur". Incredibleindia.org. Archived from the original on 30 July 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "Elaborate arrangements for Sant Tukaram Maharaj palkhi procession". Times of India. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
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  8. ^ "PANDHARPUR WARI:PILGRIMAGE ON FOOT". All India Radio. 
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  11. ^ Harrisson, Tom (1976). Living through the Blitz. London: Collins. p. 18. ISBN 0002160099. 
  12. ^ Mokashi, Digambar Balkrishna; Engblom, Philip C (Translator) (1987). Palkhi: An Indian Pilgrimage. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-88706-461-2. 
  13. ^ "Pandarpur Yatra - Pandharpur Ashadhi Ekadasi Wari Pilgrimage, Palkhi Festival - Palki Festival Maharashtra, Palkhi Festival Pandharpur India". www.newsonair.com. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  14. ^ "The Pandharpur Wari" (PDF). Parikramaholidays.com. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  15. ^ "World Book of Records". worldbookofrecords.uk. Retrieved 2018-06-20. 
  16. ^ "Ashadi - Dindi Yatra/ Seva - Pathway to experience the omnipresence of the lord". Dharmakshetra.org.in. Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  17. ^ "Warisantanchi". www.warisantanchi.com. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  18. ^ "Wari" (PDF). Parikramaholidays.com. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  19. ^ Baad, D (2016). IMPORTANTANCE OF WARI (YATRA) IN POINT OF ECONOMIC VIEW. Lulu.com. p. 40. ISBN 9781329943117.