Warkaris come to Pune
It’s that time of the year again when the anticipated palkis or processions of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar will douse the city in the spirit of devotion as one can look forward to the stoppage of the palkis today in the city.
There onwards, these colourful processions will proceed to Pandharpur the very next day keeping up with their yearly ritual. On adays along with the typical Warkaries the celebrations include few IT professionals, college students, doctors and even foreigners who most often take part in the event as groups.
Shrihari Gadewar, a professional at Barclays, shares, “I have been taking a pilgrimage to the Wari for the last four years and it has been nothing less than an awesome experience. Initially, it was only four to five of us but by now, 180 people have joined in. With no stress of work here; we try to help the Warkaries by providing them with the needed medicines and food. We also contribute money in order to help them.”
Divulging on how they focus themselves on an annual motive, Gadewar continues, “Every year we have an aim. This time, it is to protect the girls while at the same time we will help them in building confidence to fight for themselves.”
Noting the widespread popularity of their efforts, he notes, “This year there are about four individuals from the UK with us.” Supporting Gadewar’s fervour, Parikshit Phuley, a Tata Communication Services (TCS) professional admits that the experience is spiritually fulfilling which he has been undertaking for the past three years.
He seconds the fact that the experience relieves one of stress from work, “I love to walk with these people and the feeling is really different, no work tension is there and we enjoy the pilgrimage.”
The Wari holds different meanings for all. As a student, Rakesh Phate who is pursuing B Com mentions, “I walk in the Wari with my friends wherein the act of taking a pilgrimage makes me forget everything even the pain in our legs. Plus, after seeing old people walk long distances ; all of us are inspired to keep on walking.”
Vivan, an Argentinian also manages to offer a perspective of the outsider and relates, “I have come to experience the Wari and will walk as far as possible in the city. The sight of the crowd and their devotion to the deities is especially thrilling.” On an optimistic note, Vivan concludes, “ I’m sure I will enjoy it and will tell my friends to join in next time.”
The modern connect
In 2006, few IT professionals gathered together and decided to be part of a grand palki. The ones involved included few from the BPO / technology sector who walked from Aalandi to Pune. After this episode, they earned the name of IT Dindi. Since then, few exceptional members have even walked till the end of the Wari, i.e. Pandharpur.
Know thy pilgrimage
Every year in the Hindu month of Aashad (June and July), the palki of Sant Dnyaneshwar starts from Alandi and that of Sant Tukram starts from Dehu. On the 11th day of the first half of the month the palki reaches the holy town of Pandharpur. The journey from Alandi and Dehu to Pandharpur lasts for 22 days.
The devotees or pilgrims are known as Warkaris who march in groups that are called Dindi. A Wari is then the journey from Dehu and Alandi to Pandharpur.
>>The Warkaris walk nearly 450 km in this pilgrimage and ultimately, offer prayers to lord Vitthal (reincarnation of lord Vishnu).
>>The palki carries the silver padukas (footsteps) of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar.