The Maharashtra Government has decided to cancel the annual Warkari Pilgrimage. The COVID 19 cases are rising in Pune, Satara, and Solapur. These cities are close to the temple town of Pandharpur, where the annual Warkari tradition is celebrated.
Warkari is a tradition within the Bhakti Spiritual movement of Vaishnavite Hinduism. It is practiced since the 13th Century. Geographically, the Warkari culture is associated with the State of Maharashtra. Warkaris worship lord Vitthal (Vitobha). Vitthal is the deity of Pandharpur. He is also known as an avatar of Lord Krishna.
Bhakti Movement and Warkaris
The saints and Gurus of the Bhakti movement are associated with the Warkaris. Also, some of them include Saint Dayaneshwar, Namdev, Chokhamela, Eknath, Tukaram, and Gadge Maharaj. All of them accorded the title of Saint. The Warkari movement consists of the worship of Lord Vitobha. The devotion consists of the duty-based approach towards life, emphasizing moral behavior. It also emphasizes avoiding alcohol and tobacco. Further, it also promotes the sattvic diet and self-reliant celibacy during student life.
Warkaris promote equality. And they reject discrimination of all forms, primarily based on caste and wealth. Warkaris regularly practice the Hindu bhajans and kirtans. Also, they recite Haripath every day. During this annual pilgrimage, the Warkaris carry Padukas and footprints of their saints. They bring these Padukas to the temple town of Pandharpur.
This year, the Maharashtra Government has canceled this pilgrimage. The reason before canceling this pilgrimage is the increasing number of COVID 19 cases in Maharashtra. But the Maharashtra Government is trying to carry the Padukas but either road or air in order to maintain the Warkari Tradition.