Sri VITTOBA and Mother RUKHMAI(Pandharpur-Maharashtra)
by Mantra & shlokas on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 4:37pm
Not even Varanasi, Gaya or Dwaraka can surpass the reverence (created by) Pandharpur. This place is variedly described as the spiritual capital or pilgrimage centre of Maharashtra. The traditional Varkari Pilgrimage, the padasparsha darshan as well as the hundreds of dindis(group procession) and palanquins that visit the temple on evey Ashadhi and Kartiki Ekadasi have given great significance to the town. This holy place has developed along the river Chandrabhaga in the Solapur District.
The temple complex is indeed very old and has been renovated many times. There is evidence to show that a king from Prathisthana of the Shalivahana dynasty renovated Pandharpur in A.D. 83. The deity is also known as Panduranga Vittal or Pandarinatha.
Once Lord Narayana, appeared before Pundarika, having been pleased byhis devoted sense of duty towards his parents, with a view to bless him. But Pundarika who was engrossed in the service of his parents, who did not want to be disturbed even by the Almighty, placed a brick near by, on which the Lord stood and waited for His devotee to turn his attention to Him. In Marathi language, Vit means brick and Uba means to stand. Hence the name Vitoba. In the temple, he is seen standing on the brick pedestal with both his hands placed on his hips. By his side stands his consort Rukmani devi in the picture alongside. Gnana Dev, Namdev, Eknath and Thukaram are some of the prominent devotees who have composed inspired hymns on Vittoba.
There are minor temples like Rukmini temple. The greatest devotee of Vithal, Pundalik as his Samadhi shikhara on the Mahadwar ghat. There are other important structures such as the Trailokya Nam bhavan, and the Tanpure mandapa in Pandharpur.
The Varkari converge on Pandharpur, chanting and dancing all the way, and present an extremely rich and colourful picture. The dance, music and the prayers appeal to all, and the rhythm is captivating.
The fasting days of Sukla Ekadasi(11th day after Moon day) in Ashada and Kritiga months, are important days.