In view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, the temple of Saint Tukaram Maharaj in Dehu, about 30 km from Pune, will be closed for one day, not three days, as decided earlier, reports from ABP Majha stated.
The temple will be closed on June 14 only, the day of the PM's visit.
The change has been made after the decision to close the temple for three days received severe backlash on social media.
Prime Minister Modi will dedicate to the nation Shila Mandir, a temple in honour of Sant Tukaram, the 17th century saint at his birthplace Dehu, on June 14.
Modi will interact with warkaris, devotees of Sant Tukaram who undertake the biannual pilgrimage on foot to Vithoba temple at Pandharpur in Maharashtra.
“The Prime Minister will dedicate to the nation the Shila Temple of Sant Tukaram on June 14,” Nitin More, the President of the Jagadguru Shree Sant Tukaram Maharaj Sansthan told PTI.
The Shila Mandir is a temple dedicated to a slab of stone (shila) on which Sant Tukaram had meditated for 13 days. A new idol of Sant Tukaram has been installed in the temple near the ‘shila’, a temple official said.
Legend has it that Sant Tukaram was made to drown the books of his verses in the river Indrayani by scholar Rameshwar Bhat. Sant Tukaram’s pleas that the verses, elucidating the essence of Vedas in Prakrit, were not his writing, but the words of God who was speaking through him, found no favour with Bhat.
According to the legend, Bhat asked Sant Tukaram to drown the books of the verses in the river and declared that if it was indeed God’s doing, he would return them unscathed.
Sant Tukaram sat on a slab of stone on the banks of the river in meditation for 13 days, after which books were found floating in the river unaffected by the water, it said.
Devotees of Tukaram, the warkaris, offer prayers at the Shila Temple before starting their pilgrimage to Pandharpur in the Hindu months of Ashad and Kartik.
In November last year, Modi had laid the foundation stone of four-laning of key sections of the Sant Dyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg (NH-965) and Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg (NH-965G).
Dedicated walkways are being constructed alongside the highways to ease the movement of warkaris undertaking the pilgrimage to Pandharpur.
(With agency inputs)