Undeterred by rain or cold or bad roads or passing traffic, they walk together, chant the name of the saints, sing devotional songs, stay in tents en route.
(Written by Uttkarsha Shende)
On a pavement in Bund Garden area, a humble troupe or ‘dindi’ was sprawled out in the early afternoon. Members of the troupe seemed to be at peace with themselves even as they rested, but they were more than accommodating in sharing their purposes with curious onlookers.
“We started our walk from Alandi with 300 people, and expect the number to grow up to 600 by the time we reach Pandarpur to keep up our heritage, to meet our ‘bhagwan’ Panduranga,” said an elderly warkari, a member of the ‘dindi’. Warkaris who accompany the palkhis (palanquins) of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram come in ‘dindis’ or groups.
Undeterred by rain or cold or bad roads or passing traffic, they walk together, chant the name of the saints, sing devotional songs, stay in tents en route. When the palkhis make a halt, they cook and eat meals together. It goes on till Pandharpur when the palkhis reach for Ashadhi Ekadashi.
Another elder, A Kale, who was with another ‘dindi’, said she was a regular with the palkhi of Sant Tukaram for over two decades. “It is a lifetime mission…I will continue walking with the palkhi till I am in this world,” she said. Asked as to what motivates her, she said she feels that the presence of god during the wari. “I feel as if we are walking with the lord. It’s a godly feeling that cannot be described in words,” she said.
Neither the daunting stretch nor any physical ailment could deter their devotion or estimation to reach their destination in 20 days, taking breaks in between. They seemed to be self sufficient with regard to their shelter, carrying military tents for shade and utensils to prepare their meals.
Some of them carried with them the veena and pakhawaj, a drum-like percussion instrument. “Both the instruments
are used to sing praises of Sants, which reinforce the strength of the procession when sung in chorus,” said a ‘dindi’ member.
The warkaris carry triangular saffron flags on wooden poles, symbolising the warkari community. “Pandarpur will see a gathering of 15 lakh devotees, and we are happy at the prospects of meeting mutitude of people sharing the same faith,” said a young warkari.
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