Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pandharpur Pilgrimage - Vithoba Darshan

Vithu Mauli Mayechi Sauli
Known as “Sourthern Kashi of India”, Pandharpur proudly hosts the “Kuladivat” of Maharashtra State- Shree Vitthal and Rukmini.
Also known by the other names, Pandurang or Vithoba it is supposed to be The Supreme God of The Universe for all the Maharashtrians and an incarnation of Lord Shiva and Vishnu.
It’s praises were sung and written by the most auspicious saints of Maharashtra- Saint Dnyaneshwar, Saint Tukaram, Saint Namdev, Saint Purandardas, Chikha Mela, Janabai and many others.
In the temple of Vithoba, “Pad-Sparsha-Darshan” is a special ceremony. Irrespective of caste any devotee can enter the sanctum sanctorum and can place his/ her head at the feet of Vitthal. The Bhagwat Dharma sect is followed in Pandharpur, with full spirit.
The river Bhima, better known as “Chandrabhaga” flows through the city. Large number of devotees walks from the whole of Maharashtra, to celebrate the “Ashadhi Ekadashi and Kartiki Ekadashi” twice every year. The palanquins (Palkhis) of various saints from different locations come together at Wakhri, 5 kilometers away from Pandharpur.
Although not religiously very crucial, certain daily rituals do form the routine of Bhaghwat Dharma, at Pandharpur. These signify the devotedness of the followers towards it’s deity. These rituals include Kakad Arati (Early Morning Prayers) , Mahapuja (Mega-Worship), Mahanaivedya (Food offering), Poshakh (putting the robe) Dhoop Arati, Padya Pooja, etc. All this is performed in main Vitthal temple. As one enters from Namdeo-Payri (The Step in memory of Saint Namdeo) and comes out of the Westward Exit (the Paschim Dwar) one crosses various other temples- as many as 25, in the same premise.
Ganesh Mandir, Garud Mandir, Ekmukh Dattatraya Mandir, Satyabhama Mandir, Kanhopatra Mandir to name a few.
Geographical and Traveling Information
From main Solapur city, Pandharpur is at a distance of 72 kilometers and is well connected by roads to practically every city in Maharashtra, railway track also exists. Pandharpur falls on Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur track. From Solapur numerous local level transport buses commute to Pandharpur.
Major Activities
At Pandharpur, every Wednesday is regarded as an auspicious day and Ekadashi- auspicious day of the month. Four major festivals- Ashadhi Kartitki, Magh and Chaitra Ekadashis are yearly celebrated. Out of these, 1st two attract a crowd of about 8 to 10 lakhs.
Apart from these, the temple premise also celebrates Gudhi Padawa, Ram-Navami, Dasehara and Deepavali festivals.
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