Sant Tukaram Palkhi prasthan today, no foot pilgrimage
On Thursday, July 1, the prasthan (departure) ceremony of the Sant Tukaram Palkhi will take place. All the necessary safety arrangements are in place by the Dehu temple administration and the state government.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, for the second consecutive year, the pilgrimage on foot has been cancelled by the state government.
The impact on the economy of the Dehu and Alandi villages and Ssveral other villages on the route of the palkhis, which walks all the way towards Pandharpur, over 18 days, is substantial.
As per earlier experience, Abhay Tilak, chief trustee of the Alandi Devsthan temple trust, claims the total value of “Wari economics” each year is at ₹1,000 crore.
“Wari is a big event in the state which happens every year for the last 300 years, and every year there is increase in the number of warkaris joining the palkhis. The wari is not only for those 18 days, but its preparations starts way before. Right from the route, roads, making all other necessary arrangements at the villages, as well as arrangements by NGOs and local organisations, all goes into the preparation. The wari tradition economy is valued at ₹1,000 crore and has been impacted due to Covid-19,” said Tilak.
Every year tens of thousands of pilgrims walk from Dehu and Alandi to Pandharpur, all devotees of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar.
This year both the saints will be taken by MSRTC buses to Pandharpur, with only a few selected warkaris on the bus.
Sanjay More, chief of this year’s Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi said, “We are all set for the palkhi prasthan ceremony. The entire temple has been sanitised and 100 Warkaris along with temple trustees and administrative staff will be allowed inside the temple. Covid safety protocols will be followed strictly during the ceremony and we appeal to people not to come to Dehu for the ceremony as curfew has been imposed in the Dehu and Alandi villages.”