25-day pilgrimage concludes on Ashadi Ekadashi
Pandharpur (Maharashtra), Jul 7: Amid chants of 'Vitthal Vitthal' the annual 25-day pilgrimage undertaken by over five lakh ''warkaris (devotees)'' of Sant Dyaneshwar Maharaj and Sant Tukaram concluded at Lord Vitthal's temple in Pandharpur on the auspicious occasion of ''Ashadi Ekadashi'' today.
Tradition marked the pilgrimage yesterday, the day of the grand meet when all ''warkaris'' and around 25 'palkhis' congregate including Sant Dyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram at Wakhari near Pandhapur.
After travelling arduous different routes during the 25 days pilgrimage, all the ''palkhis'' across Maharashtra, met first at Wakhari and together entered Pandharpur for the grand ''darshan'' of Lord Vitthal today, singing and dancing along with the ''horses of honour'' who are taken for the ''darshan'' of the ''padukas''.
Talking to sources Police Inspector B N Patil from Pandharpur said that police had provided excellent ''bandobast'' for the ''warkaris'' to complete their long 25 days pilgrimage without any untoward incident.
The ''warkaris'' had started from Alandi and Dehu village on June 5. They were provided food and shelter throughout the route and arrangements for their stay had been made in schools and halls en route.
A great religious harmony was witnessed when 'warkaris' were provided shelter and food by the Muslim community at Raza Shah Masjid in Guruwar Peth in Pune. In a display of amity, the Muslim community joined the 'bhajans' and dance. However, the 'warkaris' stop singing during 'namaz' and this show of amity and understanding has been practiced for the past 14 years.
Before starting and stopping their trek, the 'warkaris' arrange themselves in a circle, gather their 'mrudung', 'taal' and cymbals and begin singing 'bhajans.'
From the past couple of years, environmentalists and students of the Pune University have been committed to a 'green wari' cleaning up the route of the 'warkaris.' Around 80 volunteers of NSS, staff had decided to plant 10,000 trees on the route.
In Pune, devotees are celebrating 'Ashadhi Ekadashi' with great religious fervour observing a fast and queing for ''darshan'' at the Vitthal temple at Vitthalwadi since morning.