Varkari Series - 1
Varkari (meaning "a pilgrim") is a sampradaya(religious movement) within the bhakti spiritual tradition of Hinduism, geographically associated with the Indian state of Maharashtra. Varkaris worship Vitthal (also known as Vithoba), the presiding deity of Pandharpur, regarded as a form of Krishna. Saints and gurus of the bhakti movement associated with the Varkaris include Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Chokhamela, Eknath, and Tukaram, all of whom are accorded the title of Sant.
Varkari people undertake an annual pilgrimage (vari) to Pandharpur, gathering there on Ekadashi (the 11th day) of the Hindu lunat calendar month of Ashadh, corresponding to a date falling sometime between late June to July in the Gregorian calendar. Pilgrims carry Palkhi of the saints from their places of Samadhi (Enlightenment or "spiritual birth"). The tradition of carrying the paduka (sandals) of the sants in a Palkhi was started by the youngest son of Tukaram, Narayan Maharaj, in 1685. Further changes were brought to the pilgrimage by descendants of Tukaram in the 1820s and by Haibatravbaba, a courtier of the Scindias and devotee of Dnyaneshwar.
Devotees of Vitthal were holding pilgrimages prior to the 14th century.In the present day, about 40 palkhis and their devotees from all over Maharashtra do so.
Events such as Ringan and Dhava are held during the pilgrimage. During the Ringan, an unmounted sacred horse called Maulincha Ashva, who is believed to be the soul of the saint whose idol is being carried in the litter, runs through the rows of pilgrims, who try catching the dust particles kicked off and smear their head with the same. Dhava is another kind of race where everyone wins and it is held to commemorate the manner in which Tukaram first saw the temple at Pandharpur and started running in sheer exhilaration.
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