Day 153 | 13 June 2015 | Pennur to Pandharpur | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • WoH Day 153 - Walking along the Mohol-Pandharpur Road
  • Walk of Hope 2015-16 from a pheta'ed gentleman 's stern perspective
  • 'A gang of four' - Pandharpur
  • Breakfast break at Bhairavnathvadi-Pandarpur
  • Floral greetings at Degavpadi-Pandharpur
  • A thatch of garlic - Degavpadi-Pandharpur
  • Padayatris cross Valmiki Chowk and onto the last stretch to Pandarpur
  • Crossing the almost-dry Chandrabhaga, towards Pandharpur
  • A saint, a horse and a pet canine for company - a collage of rural India - Pandharpur
  • The elderly hair-stylist at work - Pandharpur
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  • Sri M being received at Pandharpur
  • Along the crowded gallis of the ancient town of Pandharpur
  • 14.Baskets-and-brooms-anyone!,-Pandarpur,-Maharashtra
  • Circling Shivaji Chowk-Pandharpur
  • Stuff romantic dreams are made of - colorful bangles - Pandarpur
  • Entering the Sri Gajanan maharaj Sansthan - Pandharpur
  • The immaculate sansthan with the varkari statue as the eternal sentinel - Pandharpur
  • Sri M at the entrance of the majestic -Sri-Gajanan Maharaj Shrine for Darshan Pandarpur
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  • 21.Another-view-of-the-magnificent-shrine-of-Sri-Gajanan-Maharaj,-Pandarpur,-Maharashtra
With many new people joining the Yatra, the Walk of Hope left Pennur and covered 21 kilometers in 6 hours, passing through the villages of Tungat, Chougule Wasti, Narayana, Chincholi, Devapadi and Degaon, reaching Pandharpur a few minutes past 11.00 am. With the immense Bhima River close by, the lands were lush and green with sugarcane and pomegranate.

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The breakfast spot was close to Bhairavnathwadi and served quite early before 8.00 am. The clear blue skies were sprinkled with white clouds with very few signs of rain. The walk entered the holy town of Pandharpur and walked through the streets to reach their staying point for the day. Situated on the banks of the Bhima, Pandharpur is one of the most prominent pilgrimage places in Maharashtra. The city is named after a great merchant, Pundalik, who achieved self-realisation there. The padayatra entered the city at around 11.00 am, crossing the Chandrabhanga river which has been reduced to a mere trickle allowing the exposed river-bed to be used as a dump by the city. Sri M was welcomed by locals. Attracting about a million pilgrims during the yatra months of June and July, Pandharpur is home to the most visited temple in Maharashtra. Dedicated to Vitthal or Vithoba, regarded in Hinduism as a form of Lord Krishna, Rakhumāi or Rukmini is Viththal's consort here. The Warkaris start from their homes to this temple in groups called Dindi aiming to reach on Aashadhi Ekadashi and Kartiki Ekadashi. In 2014, the temple became the first in India to invite women and people from backward classes as priests. The resting spot for the day was the Gajanan Maharaj Math, dedicated to the 19th century saint from Shegaon who attained samadhi in 1910. The early life history of Gajanan Maharaj is obscure, and his birthdate unknown. A revered saint said to have made his first appearance in 1878 and believed by his devotees to be an incarnation of Lord Ganesha and Lord Dattatreya, thousands of the devotees flock to Shegaon for his blessings even today. The temple is an ornate marble structure built in an open space with a well manicured garden. Maintained by sevaks of the Gajanan Maharaj Trust as an offering of devotion, the temple is famous in Maharashtra for its clean, neat and tidy environment, making their stay here very comfortable. The yatris were grateful to the coordinators who organised this, with the only downside being the watchmen who whistled through the night. For those not used to it, sleep was hard to come by! In the evening, the yatris along with many locals gathered at the Panduranga temple and they were joined by Sri M. They first had a darshan of the deities and then assembled in the temple courtyard. The evening was the first of it’s kind in Walk of Hope. Sri M sang bhajans for half an hour. Everyone—yatri, local and passing pilgrims—joined in the singing. The evening was beautiful—a verbal expression which may or may not articulate one’s deepest feelings during the session. It was nothing short of magical and it made one’s heart full with palpable devotion.

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