Mumbai: Doctors, IT Professionals Join Pilgrims' Route To Pandharpur

Mumbai: Doctors, IT Professionals Join Pilgrims' Route To Pandharpur

A second pilgrimage leaves for Pandharpur for Dehu, another town near Pune associated with Sant Tukaram.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Sunday, June 23, 2024, 11:33 PM IST
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Vijay Gohil

Doctors and Information Technology (IT) professionals from Mumbai are among the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims walking to Pandharpur in Maharashtra's Solapur district for the annual pilgrimage, or dindi, to the Vithal temple. The walk is also called 'wari' and the participants 'warkari'.

One group of doctors who left the city on Sunday as part of a 'doctor dindi' are not just on a spiritual journey; they will also be providing emergency medical care for pilgrims walking in difficult conditions like monsoon weather and hilly roads. They are part of the Mauli Charitable and Medical Trust that has been providing emergency medical services to the pilgrims for more than 30 years.

Arvind Bhosale from the group said that nearly 300 doctors will provide medical services at 22 locations along the main route of the pilgrimage from Alandi near Pune and Pandharpur, a distance of about 225 kms. The group also provides ambulances at the camps to take pilgrims to nearby hospitals. The group gets donations of medicines from pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Suresh Bhat, a member of the group, practices at Bandra Government Colony. He said that pilgrims are susceptible to foot injuries, dehydration, fever, and stomach ailments. “We look at our work as service to Lord Panduranga,” said Bhat who will be accompanied by students from Terna Medical College, Navi Mumbai.

There is also a 'IT Dindi' that comprises people working in the technology and BPO industries. Sachin Zapkar, who runs an animation centre in Pune, said that he has been travelling as part of this group for ten years. This group helps members who cannot travel the entire pilgrimage route by suggesting a day's walk along the route. One popular option is from Saswad, outside Pune, to Jejuri, a temple town on the route. The 'IT Dindi' has a theme every year and this time is 'Ram Mandir Vithu Pandhari' to commemorate the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

The pilgrims who carry religious relics in palanquins or palkhis reach Pandharpur before July 17, 2024, for Ashadi Ekadashi, the eleventh day of the Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) of the Hindu lunar month of Ashadh (June-July). The temple's deity, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is also called Pandarinath. 

The tradition, believed to be 700-800 years old, commemorates a pilgrimage from Alandi, near Pune, to Pandharpur during the days of Sant Dnyaneshwar, a saint, poet, and philosopher of the Bhakti religious tradition who lived in the 13th century. A second pilgrimage leaves for Pandharpur for Dehu, another town near Pune associated with Sant Tukaram, saint-poet also associated with the Bhakti movement.

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