Pune: The annual procession or `Waari' of Sant Tukaram Maharaj's `Palkhi' (palanquin) started from the temple at Dehu in the presence of 50 `warkaries' (pilgrims) on Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally, the procession sees thousands of devotees joining in or greeting the Palkhi as it winds its way to the temple town of Pandharpur in Solapur district.
But with the pandemic casting its shadow on the annual pilgrimage, the Pune district administration and trustees of Alandi and Dehu temples decided that the procession will start as per the tradition, but the `padukas' (holy sandals) of saint Tukaram and saint Dnyaneshwar will be taken to Pandharpur by car or helicopter a day before `Ashadhi Ekadashi'.
Every year, processions culminate in Pandharpur on the auspicious day of Ashadhi Ekadashi, which falls on July 1 this year.
"The palkhi moved out of the main temple in Dehu in the presence of 50 warkaris taking all the safety and social distancing precautions," said an official.
On Saturday, the palkhi procession of Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj will begin in the presence of limited number of warkaris in the same way, he said.