Pandharpur – Popular Pilgrim Place
By Smitakshi Guha
Located on the banks of Bhima River in the Solapur district of the Indian state of Maharashtra, Pandharpur is a popular pilgrim place for the Hindus consisting of a list of prominent Hindu temples, which garner a lot of tourist attention from all over the world. The place received its name Pandharpur after a popular merchant named Pundalik who received self realization at this very place.
Pandharpur is primarily famous for being the host of the Vitthal Temple located here that is renowned for its religious significance in history. Vitthal, also alternately referred to as Vithoba and Pandharinath is a form of popular Hindu deity Lord Krishna—who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Alongside Lord Vitthal, Goddess Rukmini too is worshipped as the consort in the Vitthal Temple.
Architecturally, the temple is grand and has as many as six gates. The worship of Lord Vitthal in this area was coined by the contributions of the Vaishnav saints from the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka to the contents of the Puranas. The names of some of these popular saints include Vijaya Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa, Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Gora Kumbhar, Eknath, Tukaram, Chokhamela, Purandara Dasa, and Gopala Dasa.
Other than the pivotal Vitthal Temple/ Vithoba Temple, the town of Pandharpur also consists of a list of Hindu temples, devoted to Lord Krishna and other prominent Hindu deities. These include: the Shri Vitthal Rukmini Temple, the Pundalika Temple, the Gajanan Maharaj Temple, the holy Chandrabhaga River, the Kaikadi Maharaj Math, the Vishnupad Temple, Iskcon Temple, and the Padmavati Lake.
Other than that, the Pandharpur town is known to host four popular annual pilgrimages. Out of the these four pilgrimages, the one that attracts maximum crowds from the country takes place during the months of June and July, garnering a sum of people totaling to around 5,00,000 to 7,00,000 who gladly participate in the holy journey to pay their tributes to the deities. The other ones follow in the month of October and November, then January and February, and lastly, July and August—respectively in descending amount of crowds garnering to participate in the pilgrimage.
Featured Image Source: tourmet.com