Warkaris carrying holy ‘padukas’ leave for PandharpurUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 19:45 IST
Two flower-decked buses carrying the ‘padukas’ (holy footprints) of saint-poets Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram left for Pandharpur with handful of warkaris (pilgrims) from Alandi and Dehu on Tuesday on the eve of the ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’.
The district administration said that nearly 90 warkaris who were allowed to accompany the procession had tested negative for Covid-19 and were allowed to proceed. Pune district collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “All the warkaris, part of the procession, have tested negative and we have allowed them to go with the palkhi following social distancing norms and hygiene guidelines.”
Lakhs of ‘warkaris’, or devotees of Lord Vitthal, from various parts of Maharashtra and some neighbouring states throng the temple in Pandharpur every year on the occasion of ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’. However, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government cancelled the annual wari pilgrimage, which is characterised by people walking to Pandharpur with palanquins from various parts of the state.
This year, the bus took the traditional route through Pune, Satara and reached Pandharpur in Solapur district. The warkaris accompanying the palkhis were seen wearing masks and played ‘taal and mridanga’ before the buses left. The roads in Alandi and Dehu from where the buses set off were lined with colourful ‘rangolis’.
Earlier, the Solapur district administration imposed a curfew in Pandharpur from Tuesday ahead of ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’, to prevent crowds from gathering to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Milind Shambharkar, the district collector of Solapur, issued the order on Monday late evening and imposed restrictions on people’s movement in and around Pandharpur town from 2pm on June 30 to midnight on July 2 under the Disaster Management Act.