COVID-19 shadow on Ashadhi Ekadashi

Holy journey: A police convoy escorts a bus carrying the padukas of Saint Dnyaneshwar at Alandi on Tuesday.

Holy journey: A police convoy escorts a bus carrying the padukas of Saint Dnyaneshwar at Alandi on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: -

Pandharpur to see muted celebrations

With eight COVID-19 cases being reported from Pandharpur, the temple town will see a muted Ashadhi Ekadashi celebration on Wednesday.

With cases continuing to rise in Pune, Satara and Solapur districts, the State government and district authorities had scrapped the annual palki procession this year in which lakhs of warkaris (devotees) undertake the wari (pilgrimage) on foot from Dehu and Alandi (in Pune district) to the Vitthal-Rukmini temple in Pandharpur. To ensure the continuation of this long-standing tradition, the padukas (footprints) of Saints Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar from Dehu and Alandi (in Pune) respectively were transported by special State transport buses on Tuesday. The garlanded buses, with a few warkaris, including descendants of the saints, set off from Pune to Pandharpur in the afternoon and reached Solapur in the evening.

Route not revealed

To dissuade warkari participation, the Pune district administration had earlier decided not to reveal the route of the convoy. In keeping with tradition, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will be reaching Pandharpur on Tuesday night to perform the puja early on Wednesday at Vitthal-Rukmini temple.

Solapur is the worst-hit district in the Pune division, with more than 260 COVID-19 deaths and over 2,550 cases, of which over 730 are active ones.

Stringent regulations

As a number of areas near Vitthal-Rukmini temple premises have been designated as ‘containment zones’, police authorities and district administration officials will be stringently regulating Wednesday’s festivities. “Other than the Chief Minister, no elected representative from the district will be allowed near the temple premises. We are actively dissuading everybody from attempting to gather near the temple in the wake of the rising novel coronavirus cases,” said a police official.

The then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis performed the puja in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Following the Maratha quota agitation, he could not do so in 2018.

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 3:15:10 PM |

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