Concept of Wari

The PANDHARPUR WARI is distinct from all other forms of pilgrimages like the ‘yatra’ in a variety of ways. To begin with, it is a collective form of BHAKTI (worship) often undertaken as an extension of family tradition. It has a predetermined scheduled and route and has no purpose other than sheer worship. The ‘yatra’ on the under hand is undertaken by individuals at their convenience to a variety of deities for personal reasons. Participating in the WARI is its own reward and Panduranga the lone object of worship. The WARI is a microcosm of the vast sects, sub-sects, castes and trades that go into the making of the state of Maharastra – as men, women, young and old people from all walks of life, age and socio-economic status walk alongside each other, never for a moment being aware of their differences or status. Most unconventional is the belief that the Lord Vithhal awaits this meeting with his devotees (bhaktas). The eagerness to meet Lord Vitthal and the repetitive chanting of RAM-KRISHNA-HARI refrain during the walk are unifying bonds among different peoples all termed WARKARIS. No other rituals dot the WARIKARI horizon unlike in the ‘yatra’ where host of rites and rituals are prescribed and have to be adhered to. In short, WARI is synonymous with annual pilgrimage on foot to PANDHARPUR and the WARKARI refers to the ardent devotee of Lord Vitthal.

The WARKARI SAMPRADAYA (sect) considers all the EKADASHIs (the eleventh days after waxing and waning of the moon) as especially auspicious. Even among these are considered more significant the Aashaadhi (June-July) and Kartiki (November-December) Ekadashis. These Ekadashis coincide with the new-moon fortnights. That is when PANDHARPUR WARI is undertaken in Maharashtra. Besides these, two more WARIs viz the Chaitra (or spring - first lunar month) and Maghi (eleventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar) Ekadashis are also deemed to be important. The later two are particularly attended by devotees from neighbouring Karnataka.