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Home > Temple Festivals > Vithoba Temple
Vithoba Temple
VithobaTemple of Vithoba at Pandharpur, on the bank of Bhima is an important shrine particularly for Maharashrians. Three feasts are annually held in April, July, November. Vithoba is revered as the manifestation of Vishnu or of Krishna, his eighth incarna-tion.

There are various legends explaining the origin of Vithoba, but all agree that this manifestation of the god was occasioned by the filial piety of a Brahmin named Pundalik. Pundalik`s fame for filial devotion reached Vishnu (or Krishna according to another account) and this god paid a visit to Pundalik in his house at Pandharpur. When the visitor came, Pundalik was attend-ing on his parents, and enraged at the inter-ruption heaved a brick at him.

In another version of the legend, it is related that the saint only threw a brick for the god to rest on, as he was too busy with his filial duties to find a better seat. Anyway, the god was highly pleased with the devotion of Pundalik to his parents and remained in Pandharpur. His image stands on a brick, and devotees of Vithoba often identify themselves as the brick under the god`s feet, denoting complete self-surrender, a distinctive feature of the devotional Bhakti cult. The word "Vitthala" is said to be derived from the Marathi/Kannada word "Vittu", meaning "brick".

A bit of history about the prevailing custom of Pandharpur fair goes likes this: In the year 1685, Narayan baba, the youngest son of Tukaram, decided to bring about a change in the mode of celebration. So, he introduced the Palkhi, which is a sign of social respect. There are several other nuances, which only a true warkari can fathom.

PalkhiPalkhi (palanquin), a unique feature of Maharashtrian culture, is a thousand-year-old tradition followed by the warkaris - people, who follow the wari (a holy ritual). The Palkhi starts in the month of Jyeshtha of the Hindu calendar. The palanquins contain the padukas and masks of the saints, Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram. The procession and the religious celebrations last for almost three weeks. Every year on the 11th day of the first half of the Hindu month of Ashadh, the Palkhi reaches Pandharpur.

The palkhi of Dnyaneshvar sets out from Alandi while that of Tukaram from Dehu, of Nivrittinath from Tryambakeshwar, and of Ekanath from Paithan. Nearly sixty palanquins from all over Maharashtra are taken to Pandharpur.

They chant `Dnyanba Tukaram` ( meaning: Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram), while they trek their way to Pandharpur on foot, in the company of the palanquins of the various saints. Such a procession to the holy town of Pandharpur in Hindu months of Ashadh (June-July) and Karthik (November-December) is called Dindi (Bhajan party).

The whole area of Vithoba Temple is full of Varkaris, of all ages and descriptions and the atmosphere is full of the cheers that have echoes of `Jai Jai Vithoba-Rakhumait, Jai Jai Vithoba Rakhumai!`.
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