Pimpri: Thousands of devotees from Pimpri-Chinchwad area, on Thursday, welcomed the Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi at the Bhakti-Shakti Chowk in Nigdi at 4.40 pm.
In Alandi, the palkhi procession of Sant Dnyaneshwar started its annual journey from Alandi to Pandharpur on Saturday. Both the processions will reach Pune on Sunday.
Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor Nitin Kalje and Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar welcomed the palkhi at the chowk on the Mumbai-Pune national highway. Prahlad Modi, the brother of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Deputy Mayor Shailaja More, Standing Committee Chairman Seema Savale, Leader of House Eknath Pawar and Leader of Opposition in PCMC Yogesh Behl were also present. Nigdi corporator Suman Pawale, Additional Municipal Commissioner Achyut Hange and BJP corporators were also present.
Heads of each Dindi (a group of warkaris) were felicitated by the Mayor and other office-bearers by gifting them tarpaulin sheets and flowers. A large number of devotees and onlookers gathered as the palkhi passed through the area. Devotees played veena, mridunga and dholki and chanted ‘Gyanba-Tukaram’ while citizens standing on both sides of the road showered flower petals on the procession.
After crossing Nigdi, the palkhi reached the Vitthal Rukmini temple in Akurdi, where it would halt on Saturday night before resuming its journey on Sunday towards Pune. Hundreds of devotees queued up at the temple to take darshan of the palkhi. The Dindi heads and warkaris were felicitated by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).
Traffic from Bhakti-Shakti Chowk to Akurdi was thrown out of gear due to the procession. Elaborate security arrangements were made for the palkhi procession during its halt at Akurdi. Since a large number of people gathered, 40 closed-circuit cameras were installed at the temple in Akurdi. Also, a close watch was kept on crowds from watch towers.
Every year, the Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi halts for a night at the temple in Akurdi. The PCMC erected welcome arches on the palkhi route in Nigdi and at Bhosari Phata for the Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi procession. In all, 450 Dindis are participating in the annual palkhi procession of Sant Dnyaneshwar.