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Pandharpur Wari: A Spiritual Journey Towards Salvation

Worth experiencing at least once.
Manali Oak Jun 29, 2019
Pandharpur Wari is a 21-day walking pilgrimage, where devotees march for about 250 kms, simply driven by faith.

The tradition is more than 800 years old, and one of the largest and oldest people movement in the world.
The palkhi (palanquin) processions begin with two journeys on foot.

One starts from Dehu, the other from Alandi and they culminate at the abode of the Hindu deity, Panduranga in Pandharpur.

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The palkhi of Sant Tukaram starts from Dehu.

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The palkhi of Sant Dnyaneshwar starts from Alandi.
Wari begins on the 8th or 9th day of the waning moon in the lunar cycle in the month of Jyeshtha (that falls around June/July).

It reaches Pandharpur a day before Ashadhi Ekadashi (11th day in the month of Ashadha).
Millions of Warkaris (pilgrims) become a part of this procession.

Palkhis carrying the paduka (sandals) of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar are taken from their shrines to Pandharpur.
People from different castes and economic backgrounds are a part of this tradition. 'Warkari' is more than just a community of people. It is a way of life.
Warkari refers to a spiritual lineage associated with Maharashtra, India.

People of this sect worship Lord Vithoba, fast on Ekadashi, follow the Bhakti Marga, and believe in humanity and equality.
Warkaris are seen wearing a tulsi-mala, carrying an ektari and cymbals (taal) or khartal (chiplya).

They recite the Haripath and practice bhajan and kirtan.
Recital of Bhajans is an important part of the Wari; the uplifting sound of which motivates the Warkaris to continue their long and tiring journey towards Pandharpur.
They carry a Tulsi-Vrindavan (a pot of Indian basil plant) as a symbol of Goddess Lakshmi.
And a saffron flag, as an eternal symbol of the Hindu culture, its color signifying fire, one of the basic elements of life.

Two major events in the Wari include the Ringan and the Dhava.

In the Ringan, an unmounted holy horse runs through rows of pilgrims, who smear their heads with the dust kicked off by him.

Dhava is held as a tribute to Sant Tukaram’s run towards the temple of Pandharpur.

Extremely happy to see the Pandharpur temple from a hill in Velapur, he had covered the distance running.
The wari is an example of a cultural movement where everyone who joins in is taken along.

And even without instruction or rehearsal, this event is spectacular and on song.

Wari is not merely a march on foot, it is a spiritual movement.  And warkaris believe it to be an enlightening journey towards salvation.