Monday, July 20, 2009

Lord Vittobha Of Pandarpur

Right from childhood I had a fascination for Lord Vittobha as there was a Vittobha temple right in front of my house at Kochi . I have spent a good part of my childhood in this temple playing , listening to the Bhajans and singing the same to the Lord in the evenings. With out my knowledge my heart was steeped in bhakthi and I learnt many devotional songs when young itself. This temple also has its own charm as it had played a good part in shaping my Bhakthi bhava. May be that was God's wish. I consider myself fortunate to have lived near the temple. I will reserve posting about this temple to a later date and this post of mine is on Lord Panduranga Vittobha of Pandarpur.

Panduranga or Vittobha is none other than Krishana himself. The temple is situated in Pandarpur in Maharashtra. This is one of the Divya deshams of Vishnu.This is one of the most revered temples in Maharashtra.

When I grew up I had the desire to see the real Vittobha and I chanced upon the same when my sister in law was in Walchand Nagar and she offered to take me to this temple. So my family reached Pandarpur but we unknowingly landed on a Ekadasi ( 11 th day of the Hindu Lunar calender) and this temple gets thronged with his devotees as it is a very auspicious day. There was no way for us to go near the sanctum sanctorum as there were long serpentine queues. I felt sad thinking that we will have to return even without a darshan of the Lord. We also could see the varkaris ( a religious movement, having hundreds of pilgrims) marching towards the temple on foot traversing hundreds of miles from the villages singing the praise of God . They were dancing with the beat of dholak, Thal and Chipla(Dumbells) .

Then may be God decided to intervene and a security allowed us to move to the entrance of the temple to have a mukh darshan (We can see the face of the God from a distance). of the deity.Thinking this itself as a blessing we went for the same and could get a glimpse of the Vittobha's face. I was not happy as I could go near the deity and made a decision to return the next year to have better darhan. Next year again I visited the temple and I met my dear Vittobha though he made me wait for all that long. I could place my head near the feet of the the Lord and felt blessed. The practise of touching the Lord's feet which was very much in vogue has been stopped since as a precautionary measure to save the idol from chiseling due to frequent touching by the devotees. We had a Darshan of his consort Rukmabai (Rukmani) She has a seperate shrine and many more shrines dedicated to Ganesha ,Garuda and Dattatreya.

The main Gate of the entrance i.e the eastern gate is named after the great saint Namdev and the temple has six gates.The temple is spread over a vast area. Pandarpur Yatras are very famous which comes 4 times in a year and lakhs pilgrims converge here to have a darshan of the God and spend time by singing the praise of God.

The deity here is of a standing posture with hands on hips as if waiting for his Bhaktha. The legend surrounding this temple is that a person named Pundalik who was ill treating his parents later under went transformation and devoted all his time tending to his parents with great devotion . God seeing his devotion to his parents comes to his house to bless him . As he was immersed in the service of his old parents he requests Panduranga to wait outside and throws a brick for the God to stand as there was slush outside. God waits for his bhaktha and Pundalik later meets the God and begs pardon and requests God to stay in his village and shower his grace on every body. Thus the God comes to be known as Vittobha -one who is standing on the eet(brick) . He is known as eetobha or Vittobha meaning same.

Many saints like Gnaneshwar, Tukaram , Eknath, Namdev, Purandaradasa and many more created hymns and Abhangas in praise of the Lord and have attained salvation. These abhangas are real gems till date and are very popular.It helps one to immerse oneself on the divine form of Vittobha . There is also a museum near by, dedicated to the life of various saints. It is some what shaped like a train, once inside you only can get out through the other side nonetheless it was blissful.

This temple is in Solapur district and situated on the banks of the Bhima river also called as Chandra bahga., which is in the shape of a half shaped moon. Pilgrims have a dip in this holy river before paying obeisance to the Lord.

How to reach.

The nearest airport is Pune which is 200 kms. from Pandharpur.
Cabs can be hired to reach the temple.
State owned transport buses ply between Pandharpur and the nearest cities. The city is connected to Pune (204 km), Mumbai (386 km) and Sholapur (74 km) by buses.

By train
Major railway station near to Pandharpur is Sholapur and the nearest is Kurdhuwadi 52 Kms ,one can hire a cab or buses are available.
Where to stay
Accomodation at Pandarpur is not attractive and it is suggested that one should stay in bigger towns nearby..
Sholapur has some good hotels
MTDC guest houses are also available.

7 comments:

  1. Pundareeka varade, hari vittala! Always a joy reading of Vithoba! Thanks. Kamesh

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  2. Kamesh Sir,
    If you are interested read about my blog on Kochi Vittobha temple you would enjoy that too.

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  3. Among my to be visited temples list...May lord vithoba call me soon to have darshan

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  4. EC, thanks. Hope you will be able to make the trip and don't forget the photos as I could not take any at that time.

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  5. jaya jaya vittala panduranga , jai hari vittala panduranga

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  6. you have forgotten another great temple of MATA MAHALAXMI at Kolhapur, a SHATHIPEETAM., glorious temple.

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  7. Nice Article. Pandharpur is famous pilgrimage places in Maharashtra . It is famous temple of Lord Vittobha. It is nice temple in Maharashtra to visit.

    ReplyDelete

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