Thursday, July 26, 2007


Every year multitudes of warkaris undertake the holy trek to Pandharpur to meet their Lord; Lord Vitthal. They brave rain and shine and travel on foot in groups called Dindis. On Ashadhi Ekadashi, these warkaris and other devotees gather at Pandharpur and immerse themselves in the sea of devotion and Love of their beloved Vithoba.

The sandals of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram are also carried to Pandharpur from Pune. The chariot carrying the sandals is preceeded and followed by warkaris who have assembled in Pune to make the trek to Pandharpur. Some devotees esp. those residing in cities take up only a part of the trek. Others like my uncle, contribute by providing food or some other essential item to the warkaris.

I was drawn at the opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the wari this year around. The experience was beyond words - Emotional, philosophical and energizing. We were stationed at a spot before Saswad and for the 4-5 hrs that we were there, the flow of the warkaris seemed to never end. Their walk had a rhythm. Most of them sang bhajans as they made their way ahead while the rest just kept moving to an internal soulful rhythm. Amongst the traditionally clad men and women, I spotted the jeans clad youth and also noticed the occasional urban warkaris; sneakers-backpacks-sunglasses!

While I had discounted this sect so far, the experience led me to see them in a new light. Here were men and women with an undying faith and a sole mission; to meet their Vithoba. Every true warkari abstains from meat, liquor and other vices. Moreover, in this world of insatiable wants, restlessness and insecurity...they came across as happy people, totally at peace with life...

I fall short of words to express my feelings for the day..and I am only too glad to have taken time off for experiencing the wari atmosphere..I think the warkaris rubbed off some of their faith, belief and peace into me...

Here are some snapshots taken during the day..

The chariot carrying St. Dnyaneshwar's paduka (sandals)

A Dindi making its way

Catch 'em early...catch them young!

Everyone wanted to be in my picture frame!

This Warkari sure likes to stay connected


Kanchan said...

Too gud :)

Shyam said...

True episodes of Faith and belief.
Having 'faith' in something - be it deity, religion, way of life, etc, is so powerful that one cannot make that person change it! Come what may, that inner feeling of concept remains.
Sometimes, seeing such faith/belief, all I think is, "let me not change hurt their faith; let them achieve what they want with their faith".

Kedar said...


Gowtham said...

love this post - it's often that i get candid portrait opps; my personal favs: the kid resting on someone's shoulder with an almost cry-baby face and the old man with a cell phone :D


Akira said...

@Shyam: I agree.

@Kanchan, Kedar, Gowtham: Thanks fr your comments!

Deepti said...

Loved the warkari with cell phone and his slanted eyes! The kutti paapas with naamas were cute too..
Your post brings up something I have been contemplating for a long time now- the idea of belief and its supposed antagonist- rationality.

SloganMurugan said...

Beautiful set and story