We started the Road-trip to Gujarat from Bangalore via Pandharpur , Maharashtra by car.We intend to roam in Gujarat for 4-5 days and cover places in Saurashtra like Dwarka, Somnath, Porbandar and the newly unveiled Statue of Unity. The convenient way to do that is by our own car .But the inconvenient part is reaching Saurashtra by car ,as it is around 2000kms distant to Bangalore. We planned to take 2 breaks in-between before reaching Saurashtra.So, we started looking for some prominent places on the way for a break. Finally, we decided to take our first break at Pandharpur .
Pilgrimage to Pandharpur :
Pandharpur is the most famous pilgrimage destination in Maharashtra . On Ashada month, close to a million pilgrims visit the Vitthoba temple there , as Pandharpur Wari (Yatra), which takes around 21 days, reaches here on Ashada Ekadashi. Palakhis carrying the paduka of various saints like Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram are taken from their respective shrines to Pandharpur. The tradition is more than 700 to 800 years old. This march on foot from various locations in Maharashtra to the Vitthoba temple, Pandharpur attracts a total of over a million pilgrims. Numerous palakhis join the main Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar palkhis that starts from Dehu and Alandi respectively. The wari culminates at the Vitthoba temple on Ashada Ekadashi. Upon reaching Pandharpur on Ashada Ekadashi, these devotees take a holy dip in the sacred Chandrabhaga River/Bhima River before proceeding to visit the Vitthal temple.
The legend of Pandharpur :
Lord Krishna, here is called Viṭthala. The word Vitthala is composed of two Sanskrit-Marathi words: viṭ, which means ‘brick’; and thal, which may have originated from the Sanskrit word sthala, meaning ‘standing’. Thus, Vitthala would mean ‘one standing on a brick’ . The story behind the name is that , Lord Krishna came to test the resolve of his devotee ,Pundalik to his parents’ service . As Pundalik was busy with his parents’ service , he throws a brick outside and asks Krishna to stand on it.After completing his services, Pundalik asked his Lord to stay in Vitthoba form here.
This story is beautifully depicted in the blockbuster movie ‘Panduranga Mahatyam’ of NTR earlier and later by Balakrishna in Pandurangadu movie.
Day 1 We started around 5 a.m and continued our journey through NICE road -> Tumkur -> Chitradurga -> Vijayapura -> Pandharpur . Road condition till Chitradurga is very good and from there to Vijayapura it’s not so good .On the way from Chitradurga to Vijayapura, went through nice countryside visuals like Sunflower fields.
From Vijayapura to Pandharpur also the road is very bad ,but there is a lot of road work going on, so hopefully the conditions will improve after some time.We checked into the room around 8 p.m and retired for the day.
Day 2 We went to Vitthoba Temple in the morning.There was a political rally on that day (with an expected crowd of few lakhs ) so the crowd at the temple swelled quickly. We had the darshan of Lord Vitthal and Rukmini and returned to the room.
After a quick breakfast, we started to our next break,Vapi in Gujarat. Due to the rally at Pandharpur the road is crowded till Pune . After that, we had a nice drive on the expressway to Mumbai , and a nice road from there to Vapi. Finally, we reached the hotel room in Vapi around 7.30 p.m. Our plan to spend the evening in the Daman beach didn’t go as intended and we retired for the day after dinner.