This year, young crowds from the US, Canada, Singapore and several other countries were seen reverently participating in the Palkhi processions.
Palkhis of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram entered the city yesterday evening, and foreign nationals were not far behind. Over 40 students were seen with the Palkhi on Fergusson College Road and Deccan Gymkhana.
“Generally, we see aged scholars arriving from various countries, but this year it appears that it is more young crowd,” said Dr Sadanad More, descendent of Saint Tukaram and former head of Philosophy Department, University of Pune.
Cathelen Cummings from Alabama, USA, who is learning Marathi at the American Institute of Indian Studies at Deccan College, said, “Marathi can help me to learn the literature written by Saint Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar.”
Her college friend Chris, from Canada, who is learning Sanskrit was enjoying the Aarti and clapping along with other religious Warkaris in the procession. Tan Chernel, Serena Chen, Cheryl Tan, Jasmine Lan, Chan Darrel and many students from Singapore were mingling with the Palkhi and taking pictures.
“We are lucky to witness the Palkhi, and it is really amazing to watch the religious sentiments on the faces of the people in the procession,” said Tan Chernel. Uriko Ikenoya is a Japanese woman, who is completing 32 year of active participation in Palkhi from Aalandi to Pandharpur. She said, “The crowd is growing every year and it is almost 32 times more than it has been in the past 32 year.”
Ikenoya has translated Dnyaneshwari — written by Saint Dyaneshwar — into Japanese and also read the original in Devnagri script. “Dnyaneshwari is a great book and I read it repeatedly to gain mental peace,” she said.