PUNE: Lakhs of devotees (warkaris) on their annual palkhi procession arrived in the city on Saturday chanting the names of Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj and Sant Tukaram Maharaj.
The Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi reached Sangam Bridge at 5 pm while the Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi reached the same spot at around 6.30 pm. Relived by good rains this year, a large number of warkaris have participated in the annual pilgrimage with enthusiasm and vigour.
Thousands of city residents patiently waited at several places to welcome warkaris. Jubilant warkaris and several city dwellers participated in traditional games at places of brief halts in Charholi, Phulewadi and Sangam Bridge as warkaris proceeded towards their halt at the Palkhi Vithoba Temple.
This year, the palkhis of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar, coming from Dehu and Alandi respectively, converged an hour earlier than usual at Sangamwadi Bridge near Patil Estate. This year marks the 333rd year of the annual palkhi procession. There were around 500 dindis each in both the palkhis and warkaris have come from villages of Maharashtra and neighbouring states of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. The procession culminates on the auspicious day of Ashadhi Ekadashi, which is on July 23 this year, at the temple of Lord Vitthal in Pandharpur.
Lakhs of warkaris were carrying saffron flags and tulsi saplings in gleaming brass ‘tulshi vrundavans’. Apart from it, the warkaris were seen carrying placards with messages like - keep the roads clean, let’s have a safe wari, let us not use plastic and keep the environment clean.
The warkaris did not seem to be tired of the long journey. Citizen groups including several volunteers, activists, housing societies and industrialists came out in large numbers and distributed food packets, fruits, biscuits, water bottles, along with umbrellas, raincoats and clothes among the warkaris. Several citizens also walked with the warkaris.
Mobile toilets were installed all over Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to facilitate the warkaris. Also, there were several small children from the city who were dressed in sarees, dhoti kurta, etc, depicting Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj, Sant Tukaram Maharaj and Rakhama Bai (wife of Sant Tukaram Maharaj).