Pandharpur

Pandharpur

Pandharpur, town (1991 pop. 79,902), Maharashtra state, W India, on the Bhima River. Many Hindu pilgrims attend the festivals held four times a year at the temple of Vishnu.

Pandharpur is an important pilgrimage city on the Bhimā river in Solāpur district, Maharashtra, India. The Vithoba temple attracts about half a million Hindu pilgrims during the major yAtrA in the month of Ashadh (June-July).

Geography

Pandharpur is located at . It has an average elevation of 458 metres (1502 feet).

Demographics

According to the 2001 census of India, Pandharpur had then a population of 91,381. Males constituted 52% of the population and females, 48%. 71% of the population was literate, (higher than the national average of 59.5%), 78% of males and 64% of females being literate. 12% of the population was under 6 years of age.

Religious Importance

Pandharpur is one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites in Maharashtra. It is located on the banks of the Bhimā river, which is alternatively known as Chandrabhāgā because of its half-moon-like shape. It is named after a merchant, Pandarika who achieved self-realization there.

Pandharpur, alternately known as Pandhari, hosts the renowned Vitthal temple on the banks of Bhimā. "Vithoba", "Pāndurang", and "Pandharināth" are the popular alternate names of the deity, Viththal, who is regarded in Hinduism as a God form of Lord Krishna, who, in turn, is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rakhumāi or Rukmini is Viththal's consort in Hinduism.

The worship of Vitthal in the Pandharpur temple is based mainly on the contents of the Puranas, and the contributions of the Vaishnav saints of Maharashtra and Karnataka during the the 13th through the 17th centuries, namely, Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Eknath, Tukaram, Purandar Das, Vijay Dās, Gopāl Dās, and Jagannāth Dās, have augmented the worship.

The Pandharpur temple covers a large area, and has six gates. The eastern gate is known as the "Namdev Gate".

Pandharpur hosts four annual pilgrimages ("yātrās") of Hindu devotees. Among them, the pilgrimage in the month of Āshādh in the Hindu Shāliwāhan Shak calendar attracts the largest number of pilgrims --around 0.5 to 0.7 million people. The pilgrimage in the month of Kārtik attracts the next largest number of pilgrims.

This has been a great place to visit for devotees all over India. There are some other important holy places around Pandharpur as Goddess TuljaBhavani (Goddess of family - KulDevata of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj)at TuljaPur, Saint Shri Swami Samarth (God Form of Dattatraya) at ShriKshetra Akkalkot, Lord Dattatraya at Ganagapur etc. All are located in / near to Solapur District. Devotees from all over Maharashtra and surrounding states visit all these places at least once per year.

Education Insititues

Pandharpur is home of College of Engineering Pandharpur run by SVERI

Transportation

Pandharpur is connected to Kurduwadi railway junction by a 52 km broad gauge track that was converted from narrow gauge in 2001. A daily train runs from Pandharpur to Mumbai through Pune. On the other side, the track remains narrow gauge to Miraj. Gauge conversion is planned but may not be done before 2010. Pandharpur is also connected to Pune, Mumbai and Solapur by bus service.

References

Bibliography

  • G.A.Deleury, The cult of Vithoba (Pune: Deccan College, 1960)
  • M.S.Mate, Temples and legends of Maharashtra (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1988), pp188-220
  • D.B.Mokashi, Palkhi: a pilgrimage to Pandharpur (translated from the Marathi)(Albany, NY: State University of New York Press; Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1990)

External links

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