Warkari community’s Palkhi festival
Delegates attending the three-day G20 Digital Economy Working Group conference in Pune recently got a first-hand glimpse of the palanquins of the Warkari community.
About Palkhi Festival
The Palkhi festival is a tradition that dates back 1000 years and was initiated by saints from Maharashtra, India.
The Palkhi festival takes place in the month of Jyeshth (June) and lasts for a total of 22 days. It involves a journey from the departure points to Pandharpur.
It is still practiced today by their followers known as varkaris.
These varkaris are individuals who follow a vari, which is a fundamental ritual associated with the festival.
Purpose and location of the festival
The Palkhi festival is an annual pilgrimage (yatra) to Pandharpur, a town in Maharashtra that serves as the abode of the Hindu god Vithoba.
The festival is held to honor this deity and express devotion towards him.
During the festival, varkaris walk in groups, carrying palkhis or chariots.
These palkhis contain the paduka or sacred sandals of various saints, with Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram being the most prominent ones.
The Palkhi procession begins from two different locations in the Pune district of Maharashtra. Dnyaneshwar's palakhi starts from Alandi, while Tukaram's palakhi commences from Dehu.
This community or sect is associated with the Bhakti spiritual tradition of Hinduism and has a long history in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
It has been a prominent part of the religious fabric since the thirteenth century CE.
Saints of this community have contributed significantly to the spiritual and cultural heritage of Maharashtra.
Some of the famous saints associated with this community include Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Chokhamela, Eknath and Tukaram.
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