a unique feature of Maharashtrian culture, is a 1000-year-old tradition followed by the warkaris
- people who follow the wari (a fundamental ritual). People collectively go
singing and dancing, chanting Dnyanba-Tukaram in what are called as dindis (organised group of warkaris) to the holy town of Pandharpur in Hindu months of Ashadh
(June-July) and Karthik (November-December).
Palkhi starts in the month of Jyeshth (June) and the whole process lasts a total of 22
days. Every year on the eleventh day of the first half of the month of Ashadh,
the Palkhi reaches Pandharpur. Every saint, right from Sant Dnyaneshwar to Sant
Tukaram was following the wari tradition. In the year 1685, Narayan baba, the
youngest son of Tukaram was a man of innovative spirit and decided to bring about a change
in the dindi-wari tradition by introducing the Palkhi, which is a sign of
social respect. He put the silver padukas (footsteps) of Tukaram in the Palkhi and
proceeded with his dindi to Alandi where he put the padukas of Dnyaneshwar
in the same Palkhi.
tradition of twin Palkhis went on every year, but in 1830 there were some disputes
in the family of Tukaram, concerned with rights and priveleges. Following this, some
thoughtful persons decided to break-up the tradition of twin Palkhis and organise
here after, two separate Palkhis - Tukaram Palkhi from Dehu and the
Dnyaneshwar Palkhi from Alandi.
From that time till date,
both the Palkhis meet in Pune for a brief halt and then diverge at Hadapsar to meet again
at Wakhri, a village nearby to Pandharpur.
Along with times, the
popularity of this ancient tradition has soared immensely. A total of approximately 1.5
lakh devotees proceed along with the Sant Tukaram Palkhi from Dehu village, while a
total of 2-2.25 lakh devotees march along with the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi. At
present a total of 43 Palkhis including the above two visit Pandharpur every year.