Citing Sant Tukaram’s saying that “Vittal (God) is everywhere” Mumbai HC (High Court) refused to grant permission for the 17th-century Hindu saint’s palkhi (palanquin) procession on Tuesday, reports Lokmat. A petition was filed in the HC requesting permission for a much-shortened 6 kilometres wari (procession) from Wakhari to Pandharpur on the occasion of Ashadi Ekadashi. However, the court dismissed the petition on Tuesday and asked the petitioners to perform puja in their respective locations itself.
The judges said that since 10 people including the sub-divisional officer’s driver have tested positive for Coronavirus, they were not inclined to grant permission for the wari.
Wari to Pandharpur by the warkari sect is an annual pilgrimage undertaken by Vittal bhakts where devotees trek 250 km to Pandharpur on foot over 21 days carrying saffron flags and palkhis (palanquins) with padukas (footwear of saints). The two most revered palakhis, Sant Dnyaneshwar’s palakhi leaves from the town of Alandi, while Saint Tukaram’s palakhi begins at Dehu; both these towns are located in Pune district of Maharashtra. Along the route to Pandharpur in Solapur district, over a million pilgrims and other palkhis join in.
Accompanied by 20 warkaris, the Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram padukas were taken by special buses of the state transport yesterday to Pandharpur. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray earlier today performed the ‘mahapooja’ of Bhagwan Vitthal at Pandharpur, and said he prayed for a miracle to overcome the coronavirus crisis.
“I prayed to Mauli. We want to see a miracle. Show us a miracle. Human beings have given up. We don’t have medicine. There is nothing. How to go on with life by covering the mouth with a strip,” Thackeray tweeted.
Among the several other popular palkhis taken out is that of Sant Nivruttinath Maharaj. The palkhi which was taken by the MSRTC’s Shivshahi bus this year following the pandemic was forced to shell out 71 thousand rupees as the state government failed to honour its commitment of providing free transport to the Sant Nivruttinath Sansthan located in Tryambakeshwar.
President of the Sansthan, Pawankumar Bhatunda said that they had requested the administration to provide free transport. However, due to the insensitivity of the Corporation and indifference of the administration, the Sansthan ultimately ended up shelling out the huge sum for the wari which they conduct free of cost every year with the support of devotees.
Since the government had forbidden the annual wari considering the pandemic situation, Shiv Sena led Uddhav Thackeray government had promised to provide Shivshahi buses to the seven main Sant palkhis travelling to Pandharpur.
There were even talks of providing helicopters. However, none of the organisations received any official confirmation of transport arrangements till late Monday evening. It was only after shelling out 71 thousand rupees that the Corporation provided the bus to the Sansthan on Tuesday morning. It is a shame that the state government which controls most large Hindu temples in Maharashtra and collects crores from devotees, couldn’t spare Rs. 71,000 for one of the most revered annual pilgrimages in the state.
(Featured Image Source: Lokmat)
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