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  • Writer's picturePriya Krishnan Das

Pandharpur Yatra 2022

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

The Pandharpur yatra is an 800 years old tradition of the Warkaris (pilgrims) who are devotees of Lord Vithoba. The pilgrims are mostly farmers from villages in Maharashtra who assemble at the temples of the Sant Dynaneshwar and Sant Tukaram (13th and 17th century Saint poets respectively) in Pune and begin their 21 days pilgrimage along with the Saints' Palkhis (palanquins) carrying their Padukas (symbolic footwear). The entire journey of 210 kms is done on foot braving all kinds of terrain and weather to offer their prayers at the Pandharpur temple on Ashadha Ekadashi ( the 11th day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Ashadha). I was fortunate to observe the Warkari procession yesterday when a group had stopped by near by house for lunch and some rest. The women cooked in groups while the men helped out and also sung devotional songs. They liked my sketches and insisted I have lunch with them. The food was so delicious and hot with green chilies.

Along with the Palkhis of Sant Dynaneshwar and Sant Tukaram (13th and 17th century Saint poets), there are also the processions of the lesser known saints. I have captured one such. The procession and the groups of people were almost on a speed march so i tried to capture as much as possible frantically, walking alongside the procession for some time. The symbolic footwear of the Saints (paadukaas) are kept in a flower decked palanquin and drawn by bullocks. It was a riot of colour and activity!

A few more sketches from last week's Pandharpur yatra. Of people in my residential colony welcoming a warkari group, an urban bhajan (devotional songs) group led by @musicallyshruthi, of Warkaris resting, and volunteers of the @yuva_asmita_foundation distributing bananas to the warkaris.

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