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Palkhi in Pune: Green start to wari as warkaris shun plastic bane

Considering the ban on plastic, warkaries used cloth bags to carry their belongings this year and paper/leaf plates to have food from.

pune Updated: Jul 06, 2018 15:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Warkaris chose to avoid plastic and deciced to use utensils made of paper or tree leaves(HT PHOTO)

Wari, the annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur, started on a green note as warkaris (pilgrims) shunned plastic, which has been banned across the state.

Considering the ban on plastic, warkaries used cloth bags to carry their belongings this year.“There were 344 registered dindis and over 100 unregistered dindis at Dehu on Thursday,” said Usha Chavan, Dehu sarpanch, adding that there are many people who are volunteering and overseeing that there is very limited use of plastic in the area.

Dehu has a strict no plastic usage policy, which began two years ago when the Indrayani river was choking because of floating plastic carry bags. “We do not allow any plastic carry bags and recommend warkaris to adhere to minimum usage of plastic bags,” said the Chavan.

Warkaris welcomed the plastic ban and restricted themselves from using plastic utensils or plastic bags.

Dindi number 54 from Gangakhed is a 54-year-old dindi with 167 people walking this year. Most of the warkaris believe that being part of the wari is like performing a service. “We are aware of the plastic ban in the state and we have witnessed the harm it can cause to animals. We do not use plastic in our dindi, in fact, we are carrying steel plates and glasses along with the other utensils in our food truck,” said Gangadhar Maslekar, dindi team leader.

Another dindi from village Fulgaon in Khed Taluka, dindi number 112, is 50-year-old and is walking with 220 warkaris in their group. Led by Shashikant Khule, a member of the gram panchyat, they were singing prayers praising the lord. They tweaked their prayer songs and added a social message regarding the benefits of limited use of plastic.

The non-stop chants of ‘Gyanba-Tukaram’, (Saint Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram, patron saints of Alandi and Dehu respectively) remained on the lips of every single warkari, who sung and danced while on the way to the temple town of Pandharpur in southern Maharashtra for a glimpse of Lord Vithhal and his consort Rukhmai.

The 21-day long wari, which began this year on July 5 from Dehu, near Pune, has a rich 700-year history. Warkaris brave all weather conditions, including heavy downpours, to complete the pilgrimage. The wari, after passing through Pune, Satara and Solapur districts, reaches the holy city of Pandharpur on Ashadi Ekadashi (11th day of bright/waxing moon).

The palkhi began from Dehu on July 5 at 2pm and reached Inamdar wada at 6pm, where pilgrims will spent the night. Their journey will resume towards Pune on July 6.

Interesting facts

There are 200 students working as volunteers from DY Patil College in Akurdi, who are helping keep Dehu clean and creating awareness by holding placards and addressing the warkaris with messages regarding the harmful effects of plastic usage.

Maruti Ganapati Kirte (65), who hails from Latur, made it to the Limca book of records for counting the number of steps from Dehu to Pandharpur. Kirte had to take 3, 83, 044 steps to reach Pandharpur from Dehu.

First Published: Jul 06, 2018 15:04 IST