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Palkhi processions leave for Pandharpur
Raushni Bhagia | Sunday, 12 July 2015 AT 11:46 PM IST
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Hadapsar: After spreading the traditional fragrance all over the city, the palkhis moved ahead on their path to Pandharpur and left the city via Hadapsar on Sunday. Lakhs of devotees walking down the roads of the city, attracted many Puneites who chose to accompany the palkhis of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram till Saswad and Loni Kalbhor respectively.

There were thousands of people from Pune who reached Hadapsar to see the procession of the two palkhis, which carry the padukas of the two saints. People from all walks of life actively took part in the celebration of religion and faith.

Some people believe that due to the delay in rainfall, more farmers have joined the processions.

Shiva Madhav Gaikwad, one of the warkaris who started from Dehu, said, “This year the crowd has increased. Other than the fact that many teenagers and youngsters are getting involved in this, irregular rainfall is also a reason. Since a lot of sown seeds have got spoilt due to delay in the second installment of rain, more farmers have come to be a part of the procession this year.”

At Hadapsar junction, Puneites were pouring in from across the city. One could see the excitement among the people as they joined the sea of people. Little girls were dressed in their best traditional attire and parents purchased them a whole lot of stuff from the roadside vendors.

Madhavi Bhide, a marketing professional of Pune said, “I have come with a group of 20 from our office. I was planning to go for last two years, but my plans got altered. Some days ago, while discussing my wish with my colleagues during lunch, we realised that all of us were interested. Incidentally the palkhis are departing on Sunday. So, we could join. We will walk till Saswad.”

Highlights of palkhi processions

Docs have their own Dindi

About 20-25 doctors from the city have participated in the palkhi procession through their own Dindi. They have participated in the procession for the third year in a row. The group also attends to the medical needs of the warkaris by halting at Saswad for a medical camp. Dr S Desai, a member of this Dindi, said, “This is more than religion for us, it’s about faith and willpower. The warkaris are more stronger than us. We want to help them in whichever way we can and being doctors, we are happy to extend our medical assistance to them.”

Teen Girls’ group joins Dindi

While the palkhi procession looks like an initiative of grown-ups, there is a group of teenagers who walk down from Hadapsar to Saswad every year for the last two years. All girls in the age group of 15-18 years, they do this to get the feeling of being a warkari. About 20 of them participated in the procession every year. However, the figure has come down to 15 this year.
Sayali Rane, one of the group members said, “Some of our friends are not well and hence, they couldn’t join us. We are waiting here for the rest of us. We walk down with them because we like it a lot. We mostly get an autorickshaw or a bus from there to return. It is bliss to walk behind the palkhi singing Vithoba, Tukoba, Mauli and Dnyanoba songs.”

Amateur photographers capture various moods

As the palkhis turn out to be one of the biggest hits of the city and one of the most popular religious processions of the State, many amateur photographers pick their cameras to capture the same. Many people from the city, young and middle-aged try out their creative side while clicking pictures of the palkhi. Some of them have been doing this for the last many years.

Dindis with social initiatives

While there are over 350 Dindis in each of the two palkhi processions, a few of these take social initiatives as the main motto for walking down the 200 km stretch.

‘Plastic free Dindi’ is going to be a part of the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi procession from Alandi to Pandharpur, spreading awareness about the hazards of plastic. The group is an initiative of Thun Creative Centre and it is going to target students for these lessons. Another one is ‘Anti Tobacco Dindi’ which was organised by youth and activists of the city during the palkhi procession. Put together by Dnyaneshwari Pratishthan and Janeev, the message of the Dindi was ‘tobacco de-addiction’.
‘Swachhatechi Dindi’ was another initiative on the same lines. The students and employees of Maharashtra Education Society are creating awareness about cleanliness and also trying to clean the premises of palkhi procession as much as they can.

 
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Dr. Cajetan Coelho - Tuesday, 21 July 2015 AT 04:17 PM IST
Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram - their social teachings continue to inspire lakhs of devotees year after year.
 
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