Path to the divine

Pand­harpur wari

India Today - - COVER STORY -

It is next only to the Gan­pati cel­e­bra­tions on Pune’s cul­tural cal­en­dar as thou­sands of res­i­dents gather to wel­come the an­nual fes­ti­val of wari.

The pro­ces­sion of a few lakh pil­grims who walk from Dehu and Alandi (vil­lages near Pune) to Pand­harpur, 150 km away for the Ashadi Ekadashi fes­ti­val, halts in Pune for three days, mark­ing a pe­riod of folk mu­sic and dance and wor­ship.

The dindi (groups of pil­grims) sing and dance in hon­our of Lord Vithoba while pil­grims and lo­cals join in to play tra­di­tional games like the fugdi, dance to folk beats and cel­e­brate the up­com­ing fes­ti­val. One of the high­lights of Pune’s fes­ti­val diary, this 400 year-old tra­di­tion has in­spired sev­eral books, doc­u­men­taries, pho­to­graphs and films and is a mo­ment to soak in the cul­ture of the city.

The fes­ti­val is usu­ally held be­tween July and Au­gust.

Pho­to­graph by AB­HI­JIT PATIL

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