As Pune gears up to welcome the Palkhi this year, here are 10 quick trivia about the Palkhis that graces the city each year
1. The Palkhi is centuries old Maharashtrian tradition that is religiously followed by the Warkari sect every year in the month of Jyeshth or June and lasts 22 days. Wari in Marathi means pilgrimage and those take the pilgrimages are called Warkaris or pilgrims. The 'dindis' or the group of Warkari's have a fixed schedule and follow it to the dot.
2. The Palkhi was introduced in 1685 by Sant Tukaram's youngest son, 'Narayan Baba' because he wanted to bring changes to the Wari tradition. He put the'Silver Padukas' of Tukaram and went to Alandi with his dindi and then placed Sant Dnyaneshwar's padukas in the same Palkhi.
3. The year of 1830 saw disputes in Sant Tukaram's family and the decision was taken to separate the two Palkhis. This is why, today, the Sant Tukaram Palkhi leaves from Dehu while the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi leaves from Alandi.
4. At the beginning of the pilgrimage, the wind instrument 'tutari' is blown thrice. The first signal to indicate to the Warkari's to get ready, the second for them to get into their positions and the third for the Palkhi to start moving.
5. The pilgrims generally have fixed positions during the procession. Each 'dindi' has been assigned a number and is given a position either at the beginning or at the end of the Palkhi. Each dindi is led by a flag-bearer, earing an orange/saffron color flag and the rest of the Warkaris follow in lines of four. The veena players are positioned in the middle and at the end of each 'dindi'. They are followed by the women i.e. Warkaris carrying 'tulsi' or drinking water in pots on their heads.
6. The Palkhi's, have in them 'padukas' (traditional Indian footwear) of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar respectively along with Tulsi saplings in 'Tulsivrundavans.
7. The sounds of the Veena and the Pakhwaj/Mridang or a two headed drum as it is more commonly known are the instruments used by the Wari's during the Palkhi.
8. The 'Maha Puja' is performed by the 'first devotee' who enters the temple.
9. There are close to 1.5 lakh devotees that are a part of the Sant Tukaram Palkhi from Dehu and 2-2.5 lakh devotees that are a part of the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi from Alandi.The total journey is close to 450 kilometers.
10. Apart from these two Palkhi's there are 43 other Palkhi's that travel to Pandharpur where lies the Vithoba Temple , the deity of the Warkari Sect.