Tag Archives: wari

Aashaadhi Waari -A Photo Essay-Part 3

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until they are close to Pandharpur. About 6 kms from Pandharpur in Wakhri, they will rest and proceed to the temple city on the eve of Aashadhi Ekadashi. i.e the next day.

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Before proceeding to Pandharpur, the paalkhi and the rath are showered with flowers.

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The paalkhi reaches Pandharpur on the eve of Aashaadhi Ekadashi and is welcomed with much fanfare. It is open to darshan all night. The next morning, the paalkhi will be carried out around Pandharpur in a nagar pradakshina, followed by a dip in the Chandrabhaaga. After a few days rest, the paalkhi heads back to Alandi. The waarkari numbers go down significantly at this time, given that the return journey is completed in about a week, covering double the distance per day as compared to the onward journey. 

Aashaadhi Waari-A Photo Essay -Part 2

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When the paalkhi reaches its destination for the night, an arati follows. All the dindis close to the rath surround the paalkhi.  After the arati, the paalkhi is taken to the ceremonial grounds,where it is open for darshan. 

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The chopdaar or the bearer of the chop i.e this stick, raises the chop and instantaneously silence descends on this massive congregation in preparation for the arati.

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There are three ringans or circumambulations during the waari. Two are circular ringans or gol ringans and one is an ubhe ringan or the standing raingan. The horse following the horse-rider is symbolic of the meeting of the jeeva or life source with the eternal source. The waari is a metaphor of this union, with waarkaris attempting to merge with the divine  i.e Vitthal.  

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The dhaava or the run also takes place en route and symbolises the restlessness of the waarkaris to see their beloved Vitthal. 

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These women will walk all the way with tulsi pots or a kalas (pot) on their heads. It could mean a mannat or wish-fulfillment or just be a sign of their devotion to Vitthal, who loved Tulsi very much.  

Aashaadhi Waari – A Photo Essay -Part 1

The onset of the monsoon in Southwest India commemorates the Hindu month of Aashaadh; a time when thousands and thousands of vaishnavites across Maharashtra and the Deccan plateau undertake the waari.

Today, June 29th 2016 is the Prasthaan or the departure of the Sant Dnyaneshwar waari from Alandi. The pilgrims or waarkaris will walk nearly 27 kms to reach Bhavani Peth in Pune from Alandi this evening. The tarmac road burns up on sunny days and a less-experienced waarkari will want to hop into the next vehicle. Except, the vehicles too are slowly winding their way through the throngs of people and walking to Pune might actually be a faster option.

The waarkaris will travel a distance of nearly 230 kms from Alandi to Pandharpur in about 15 days. The waari culminates in Pandharpur on the eve of Aashadhi Ekaadashi,when thousands will line up at the doors of the Vitthal temple for darshan of their ‘sakha’ or friend. Mukhadarshan (darshan of the idol) could take days so many waarkaris opt for kalas darshan (paying obeisance to the temple tower) and return home after a bath in the Chandrabhaga River.

Here’s a photo essay in three parts to commemorate the Aashaadhi Waari 2016.

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Alandi on the banks of the Indrayani. The paalkhi procession begins here at the shrine of Sant Dnyaneshwar who is believed to have started the tradition in the 13th century.

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The paalkhi contains the padukas or the footwear of Sant Dnyaneshwar and will be carried on a bullock cart all the way to Pandharpur and return the same way. On the day of Prasthaan, however, the paalkhi is carried by waarkaris.

 

 

 

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Most male waarkaris dress in white and wear a white cap. The ones belonging to a dindi or contingent will carry flags and a sign bearing the number of their contingent stating its position-preceding the rath, i.e chariot or following the  chariot.

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There is always lots of happy dancing along the way

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such as this happy dancer

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with the cops joining in every now and then

 

 

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On the way to Jejuri from Saswad, the waarkaris burst into a jogwa in honour of the patron god of Jejuri, Malhaari or Khandoba.

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Turmeric or bhandaara is sprayed in the air to welcome the paalkhi in Jejuri.

 

‘Tis the season to do wari…falala la la lala lalah!

It’s the month of Ashadh and soon Ashadhi Ekadashi will be upon us-which means warkaris from across the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are marching towards Pandharpur as I post this – braving the heat, rains (if at all the Rain Gods decide to be merciful this year), blisters on their feet, sunstrokes, knee pain, and assorted physical ailments..all in an effort to have a glimpse of their beloved God, Vitthal.

Now to use the words of Madonna,
“I’m not religious
But I feel so moved
Makes me want to pray
Pray you’ll always be here
I’m not religious
But I feel such love
Makes me want to pray…..”

It’s the warkaris who truly make me believe …..what else but faith would make someone walk 250 kms over 18 days in all kinds of weather on all kinds of terrain, with lack of public sanitation, sleep in tents on hard ground,  drink tanker water and bathe in the same.

There’s a lot I can say about my experience on the wari and what it taught me..but I shy away from revealing its most private lessons to me…that’s a secret I share, I can safely say, with Vitthal himself…

One of my favourite people on the wari-this chipalkaar set the mood during the early morning kirtans.

Until then, here’s a short photo essay on these mascots of faith–the warkaris…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The symbol of every warkari. The women wear a small chandan dot with the bukka in the middle.

The symbol of every warkari. The women wear a small chandan dot with the bukka in the middle.

These women will carry the tulsi plant on their forehead until they reach Pandharpur. The union of Tulsi with her husband Vishnu symbolic of their union with Vitthal.Some carry a coconut with mango leaves while others might carry a pot of water to serve the warkaris.

The musicians will be at it all throughout. The taal-mrudungawale will be  active at all times, day or night..making joyful music, keeping morales high.  And would you lookat that smile? How can that not make you happy?

The musicians will be at it all throughout. The taal-mrudungawale will be active at all times, day or night..making joyful music, keeping morales high. And would you look at those smiles? How can that not make you happy?

This is how we do it.  On mukkam-i.e off days, fInd a source of water, wash the dust off our clothes and dry them atop our tambu (tent) .

This is how we do it.
On mukkam-i.e off days, fInd a source of water, wash the dust off our clothes and dry them atop our tambu (tent) .

And this is how we cook on mukkam days...the warkari women pitch in too in addition to the regular cooks hired by each dindi (contingent).

And this is how we cook on mukkam days…the warkari women pitch in too in addition to the regular cooks hired by each dindi (contingent).