PANDHARPUR – This is a holy place of Shri.Vitthal and Shri.Rukmini. It is also known as the Southern Kashi of India and Kuldaivat of Maharashtra State. It is located at a distance of 72 kms by road. from Solapur District headquarters. The Pandharpur Railway Station falls on the Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur railway track.
The ancient temple of Shri.Vitthal was renovated in 1195 A.D. There are many other temples of Indian Dieties and Mathas (Dharmshalas) of many Saints. The Chandrabhaga (Bhima) river flows through the City. Large number of devotees from all over Maharashtra and surrounding States gather at Pandharpur mainly to celebrate the Aashadhi and Kartiki Ekadashis every year in addition to the regular rush of devotees everyday.
The Palaquins (Palakhi) of various Saints originating from various locations gather at Wakhari, five kms. from Pandharpur for the Waari festival. The various daily rituals like Kakda Aarati, Mahapooja, Mahanaivedhya, Poshakh, Dhooparati, Padyapooja, Shejarti etc are performed in the main temple of Lord.Vitthal. The following are the temples inside the main temple as one enters from Namdev Payari and come out of Pachhim Dwar of the temple.
- Namdev Payari – In memory of Shri.Sant Namdev
- Ganesh Mandir
- Datta Mandir
- Garud Mandir
- Maruti Mandir
- Chowrangee Devi Mandir
- Garud Khamb
- Narsimha Mandir
- Ek-mukh Dattatraya Mandir
- Rameshwar Lingam Mandir
- Kala Bahirav Mandir
- Laxmi-Narayan Mandir
- Kashi-Vishwanath Mandir
- Satya-Bhama Mandir
- Radhika Mandir
- Siddhi-Vinayak Mandir
- Mahalakshmi Mandir
- Venkateshwar Mandir
- Kanhopatra Mandir
- Ambabai Mandir
- Shani-Dev Mandir
- Nagnath Mandir
- Guptaling Mandir
- Khandoba Mandir
Other temples in the town
- Padmavati Mandir, Railway Station Road
- Lakhubai/Rukmini Mandir, Chinch Baag
- Ambabai Mandir, Dagadi Bridge, Solapur Road
- Gopalpur, 2 kms. from Pandharpur
- Vishnupad , 2 kms. from Pandharpur
- Pundalik Mandir, On Chandrabhaga River Bank
- Namdev Mandir, Pradakshina Road
- Dnyaneshwar Mandir, Naath Chowk
- Tukaram Mandir, Pradakshina Road
- Kala Maruti Mandir , Pradakshina Road
- Tambada Maruti Mandir, Pradakshina Road
- Vyas Narayan Mandir, Solapur Road
- Yamai Tukai Mandir, Sangola Road
- Gajana Maharaj Mandir, Shivaji Chowk
- Takpeethya Vithoba, Near Mandi
- Ram Baag, Solapur Road
- Laxman Baag, Railway Station Road
Places of Importance in Pandharpur
- Sant Kaikadi Maharaj Math – It is on the north side of the town. It is a modern innovation depicting the ethoes of the epic Gods and Saints. It may take minimum two hours to see the entire Math
- Sant Tanapure Maharaj Math
- Gujarathi Devsthan – It is on the other side of the river Bhima. The pilgrims have to cross the river and visit the Shrinathji Temple.
Major festivals of Pandharpur
In Pandharpur, Wednesday is regarded as the auspicious day in the week and Ekadashi, the auspicious day in the month. The Aashadi, Kartiki, Magh and Chaitra Ekadashis are the four major festivals of the temple. Out of these four, the first two festivals attract a large crowd about 8 to 10 lakhs.
Apart from these, festivals like Gudipadwa, Ramanavami, Dasara and Deepawali are also celebrated. There are three major events Ashadhi Ekadashi i.e immediately after onset of Monsoon season. All the farmers complete their pre mansoon farming works. All the Warkaris (pilgrims) visit Pandharpur Pilgrim Centre from allover India including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, and Andhra Pradesh. States. It is a very big long march of Warkaris (Pilgrims) from the various other pilgrim centre from Maharashtra as below.
About 2 lakh Warkaris marching from pilgrim Alandi of Sant Dnyaneshwara and from Dehu of Sant Tukaram’s pilgrim centers and many other warakaris join this march on their way to this long route of Alandi-Dehu to Pandharpur. In all about 7 – 8 lakh devotees visit Pandharpur for Aashadi Ekadashi. Katiki Ekadashi comes immediately after the monsoon season is over and many warakaris visit Pandharpur from Dehu, Alandi, Newasa etc. and other parts of Maharashtra. About 3 – 4 lakhs devotees visit Pandharpur. Maghi Ekadashi comes in the initial period of summer season. About 2 lakh devotees visit Pandharpur. Chaitri Ekadashi comes generally in the month of April. About 1 lakh devotees visit for this ekadashi.
The main temple
Vithoba Temple which is the main temple is situated in the central part of the town. The temple has eight entries. The main entrance is the eastern one known as Mahadwar which is also called as Namdev Payari, because one of the steps known as Namdev Payari is built up over the places where the remains of the great saint Namdev are believed to have been burried at his desire.
After Namdev Payari there are three small rooms called Mukti Mandap. After crossing the Mukti Mandap there is a quadrangle of about 120’ x 60’ with wooden pillars, presently called as Vithal Sabha Mandap. After crossing this sabha mandap one enters a hall known as Solkhamb, by reason of the fact that its superstructure rests on 16 pillers. One of the pillar is plated with Gold at the base and silver above it and is known as Garood Khamb. Near solkhamb there is a large stone slab with inscription of 1208 A.D. Close to the Solkhamb mandap, towards the sanctum is a small hall called Chowkhambh as the superstructure rests on four pillars.
From the chowkhambhi hall one is let into the shrine or Gabhara, a small room about 6’ square consists of a platform of 3’ height with silver canopy above and on this platform stands the idol of Shri. Vithoba which attracts millions every year. The idol is called by different names Vithoba, Pandurang, Pandhari, Vithal, Vithalnath etc. Behind Vithoba temple in the north east corner of the temple, facing east is the temple of Rukmini, the consort of Vithoba. It has a Gabhara, entry / exit, outer hall and a sabha mandap.
Every devotee not only entere the sanctum irrespective of the dress/caste/creed, but even places his or her head on the feet of the deity actually touching it. And this is a privilege prized and exercised by all devotees. This Padsparshadarshan is unique and not found in most of the Hindu temples elsewhere. For padsparsha Darshan it requires 2 to 3 hours on ordinary days, 4 to 5 hours on weekly holidays and Ekadashi day and upto 24 to 36 hours on Yatra days.
For the devotees who cannot spare long hours in queues for Padsparshadarshana one can have the Mookhdarshan. Bhakta or devotee can take darshan of Vitthal from the distance of about 25 metres and of Rukmini, from the distance of about 15 metres. It requires only 15 to 20 minutes for darshan. Darshan in Pandharpur has a distinctive meaning valued sentimentally by all devotees which does not obtain in any other temples in India.
How to Reach:
Nearest Air port is Pune and Kolhapur.
Pandharpur railway station falls on the Kurduwadi-Miraj route of Central Railway.
It is located 72 kms from Solapur.
Accommodation at Bhaktniwas is available. Private hotels also available.