Since I lived in a magnificent city Mumbai, which is fast developing, my busy schedules hardly allowed me to enjoy the city in full. Like every student in the threshold of building career, I feel overwhelmed by my busy schedules though I enjoyed celebrating festivals and playing cricket/football tournaments. Festivals make me high-spirited and I love celebrating them wherever I am. To be honest to my liking, I really had a good time at Pandharpur during Ashadi Ekadashi.
For a past few days, it was very hectic and I was fully engaged with my daily chores. The condition was such that days at Mumbai are becoming weary. Since I want to escape from the hustle and bustle of my daily life, I planned to escape to some place where I can relax and rejuvenate my mind and body. I like traveling in train and I booked my ticket to Pandharpur, where beauty of nature and tradition co-exists.
You would be wondering why I choose this place for my travel destination. It was for Ashadi Ekadashi (आषाढी एकादशी), a traditional festival celebrated with great fervency. It is one of the holy days for Hindus and is believed that on this holy day the pilgrims worship Lord Vishnu and Goddess Maha Lakshmi. The devotees offer poojas and chant prayers and they fast for the whole day.
The Hindu mythology says that on this day Lord Vishnu sleeps in the milk ocean or the Ksheersagar for four months. The Ashadi Ekadashi is celebrated on the 11th day of ‘Kartik’ month. The Hindus fast on this day and do not add in food onions, grains, beans, some vegetables, cereals, and so on.
I travelled to Pandharpur, which is one of the well-known pilgrimage centers in Maharashtra. The place is situated on the banks of the famous “Bhimā River”. Pandharpur is also called Chandrabhaga because it possesses the shape of half-moon. Moreover, the place is called after a merchant Pundalik. He obtained self-realization at this place. The temple has six large gates and the gate at the Eastern side is called Namdev Gate.
During Ashadi Ekadashi more than 500,000 to 700,000 devotees visit this holy place from different parts of Maharashtra and offer poojas. Many of the pilgrims carry Palkhis (palanquins). These pilgrims are regarded as Warkaris. They chant slogans of famous saints Tukaram, Abhangas and Dhyaneshwar. I worshipped the deity and the next day I finished my ‘paran’, a religious practice to end the fast and came back to Mumbai with fulfillment.