THURSDAY JULY 7 PUNE:
"Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari, jai jai Ram Krishna Hari..." , with the echoing sounds of the 'taal,' 'pakhawaj' and the 'veena,' and warkaris (pilgrims) singing and dancing to 'abhangs', the palkhi procession of Sant Tukaram arrived here on Monday. The Palkhi was welcomed by over 1.5 lakh of warkaris and devotees who were gathered to Pune from different parts of the state and country also.
It was raining but it could not hamper the spirits of warkaris . Enjoying the “shower from the lord” devotees were leading over with 250 dindis in a colourful but disciplined march. Every dindi was singing different “abhangas” and “ovis” of “Sant parampara” of Maharashtra but no dindi was getting disturbed by other dindi’s chanting.
Those waiting eagerly for a 'darshan' of the richly decorated 'palkhi, also distributed eatables to 'warkaris'. Some of them even joined the 'wari'. "I also want to go to wari. But I don’t have that much stamina to go further. I wonder how these old and young warkaris get stamina to complete the wari. But few steps walking with them was also a fulfilling experience." said 45 years old Parvatibai Shinde , who, along with a bunch of her relatives welcomed the 'wari' on FC Road.
While on the one hand the city welcomed the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi on Tuesday, the road diversions and huge crowd also led to major traffic jams on Ganeshkhind Road, Senapati Bapat Road, Khadki Road and Shivajinagar area. The traffic congestions started taking place in the evening. In order to clear the way for the palkhi and Warkaris, the traffic police had made diversions from the road in Khadki.
While the one side of the old Pune-Mumbai highway that goes towards Khadki, was kept on, the other side that leads towards the College of Engineering Pune (COEP), had been closed for the people for transportation. As a result of this, the vehicles had to take a turn towards the Range Hills area. This made the vehicles crowd the Range Hills area and soon, there was traffic congestion on the road. But when the vehicles reached the E-Square corner, the road toward Shivajinagar had been kept closed. Hence, the vehicles again had to take a turn towards Chatuhshringi temple and take Senapati Bapat Road to go to the central part of the city.
While the Sant Tukaram Palkhi arrived in the city on Monday, coinciding with the day of the Bharat Bandh, the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi arrived in the city on Tuesday at 4.30 pm to a grand welcome by citizens. Like every year, tens of thousands of Warkaris accompanied the Palkhi for a brief stopover in the city before heading to Pandharpur, the dwelling of Lord Vitthala. The Warkaris, old and young, from rural parts of Maharashtra, accompany the Palkhis of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar that set out on their respective journeys from the temple towns of Dehu and Alandi. This annual pilgrimage will conclude when it reaches Pandharpur on the day of Ashadhi Ekadashi.
The Pune city and rural police made intensive security arrangements in the city to avoid any untoward incident during the religious Palkhi procession.