In an attempt to boost the Wari culture amongst the non-Marathi population and foreign tourists in the city, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) for the first time is coming up with the concept of Wari Darshan.
MTDC officials said that the department would not only organise cultural events for tourists, which include information on Wari culture and presentation of folk dances, but tourists would also get an opportunity to participate in the procession of the Palkhi on its arrival in the city on July 1.
“People living in Maharashtra are aware about this annual pilgrimage, however, this awareness is limited only up to people in Maharashtra. Thus, we have decided to show this cultural extravaganza to the tourists who are presently on a visit,” said MTDC (Pune division) chief, Naina Bondarde.
Palkhi is a thousand year old tradition where Warkaris (people who follow the Wari) every year take part in the procession of Sant Dyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram, which starts from Alandi and ends at Pandharpur in Solapur district.
Bondarde said that every year she notices that large number of foreign travellers, whether they are students, scholars or just the visitors’ visit the Wari on its arrival in the city. “These tourists are curious to know about the tradition but they are on their own and not in groups, so their hunger to know about this event remains unsatiated. Therefore, we have decided to organise a lecture on the traditions of the Wari along with some live performance of folk dances and later we will take them for the procession from Alka Chowk to Laxmi Road,” Bondarde said.
The department has been in touch with international study centres and hotels in the city to reach out to tourists. Initially, a group of 50 tourists will participate in the procession. Translators will be with the tourists.