Pune: As the palkhis of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram take a two-day halt in Pune, people in Pune consider themselves lucky to be able to take their darshan before they are off to Pandharpur.
Every year, thousands of Puneites flock to Palkhi Chowk in Bhawani Peth to pay their respects to the sants. Deepali Pawar, who came from Kondhwa, said, "I come to visit the palkhis every year with my family. Elders and children are brought along as we have faith in Lord Vitthal. People complain of traffic congestion and crowds. However, I don't think it bothers anybody so much."
Youngsters too are coming for darshan. "Our father stays in Indapur and serves food to warkaris there. This is the first time we have come for darshan in Pune. Despite the crowd and sun, we feel really fresh," said sisters Kirti and Chanchal Bharekar.
However, the number of visitors is less this year. "Last year, the palkhi processions entered Pune on Saturday. So, people could come for darshan on Sunday. This year, on the other hand, being a Monday, less people visited the palkhis. Also, it is hot and sunny today. That, too, might have affected the footfall," said Police Constable Sahil Sheikh.
Hawkers crowd around
Several hawkers set up stalls at Palkhi Chowk in Bhawani Peth to cater to the crowds of warkaris and other visitors. A few people were applying tikas (pious mark) on people’s foreheads. Hawkers were selling a accessories, footwear, utensils and food items.