Friday, 27 May 2011

Pandharpur



Pandharpur is an important pilgrimage city on the banks of Bhimā river in Solāpur district, Maharashtra, India. Pandharpur is situated on the 1711 north axis and 7511 the east longitude in Solapur District. The Vithoba temple attracts about half a million Hindu pilgrims during the major yātrā (pilgrimage) in the month of Ashadh (June–July).
Pandharpur is one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites in Maharashtra. It is located on the banks of the Bhimā river, which is alternatively known as Chandrabhāgā because of its half-moon-like shape. The city is named after a merchant, Pandarika, who achieved self-realization there.

Pandharpur, also known as Pandhari, hosts the renowned Vitthal temple on the banks of Bhimā. "Vithoba", "Pāndurang", and "Pandharināth" are the popular alternate names of the deity, Viththal, who is regarded in Hinduism as a form of Lord Krishna, who, in turn, is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rakhumāi or Rukmini is Viththal's consort in the temple.

The worship of Vitthal in the Pandharpur temple is based mainly on the contents of the Puranas, and the contributions of the Vaishnav saints of Maharashtra and Karnataka during the 13th through the 17th centuries, namely, Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Eknath, Tukaram, Purandara Dasa, Vijaya Dasa, Gopala Dasa, and Jagannatha Dasa, have augmented the worship.

The Pandharpur temple covers a large area, and has six gates. The eastern gate is known as the "Namdev Gate".

Pandharpur hosts four annual pilgrimages ("yātrās") of Hindu devotees. Among them, the pilgrimage in the month of Āshādh (June–July) in the Hindu calendar attracts the largest number of pilgrims—around 0.5 to 0.7 million people. The pilgrimages in the months of Kārtik (October–November), Māgh(January–February) and Shrāvan(July–August) attract the second, third and fourth largest numbers of pilgrims respectively.

This has been a great place to visit for devotees all over India. There are some other important holy places around Pandharpur. The deities include Goddess Tulja Bhavani (Goddess of family - KulDevata of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) at Tuljapur, Saint Shri Swami Samarth (God Form of Dattatreya) at Shri Kshetra Akkalkot, Lord Dattatreya at Ganagapur etc. All these places are located in or near Solapur District. Famous Devi Temples in Pandharpur include Padmavati , Emayi –Tukai, Ambabai, and Lakhubai.

Milk and all other cow products for Pooja in Pandharpur temple are supplied from Shri kesavgoshala of Pandharpur, which belongs to Nagoriya Math.