Palkhi Festival

Ashadhi Waari:

The ‘Waari’ in Maharashtra is a fleet of devotees who travel on foot from various villages to congregate in the village of Pandharpur and is a religious and traditional rite in the Hindu tradition. This religious journey is carried out twice in one year in the Hindu months of Asadh ( 22 June to 22 July in the Gregorian calendar) and Kartik ( 23 October to 21 November in the Gregorian calendar) during the phase of ‘Shuddh Ekadashi’. The holy sandals of Saint Dnyaneshwar and Saint Tukaram from Alandi and Dehu respectively are carried in a palanquin called the ‘palkhi’ to Pandharpur in a chariot. The three most important saints in the Warkari community are Sant Dnyaneshwar, Sant Eknath and Sant Tukaram. There is no element of discrimination based on any grounds in this community, instead they believe that blessings are received out of kindness and honesty to others. Setting afoot for Pandharpur on the day of Ekadashi or any day that is considered pure can be called a ‘Waari’. An individual who follows this religiously is called a Warkari and the religion they follow is called the ‘Warkari Dharma’ also called as ‘Bhagwat Dharma’. They have a saying in which they express their innate desire to go to Pandharpur to pay respects to Vitthal and bathe in the river Chandrabhaga; ‘ Pandharicha vaas, Chandrabhage snaan, aanik darshan Vithoba che’, and it is their belief that this desire drives them never to miss it. The Ashadhi Waari has a place in the heart of every person in the Warkari community and is revered by them with the utmost respect and devotion.

Palkhi Festival:

A saint called Haibatbaba started the tradition of Waari. He was the first devotee who carried the holy sandals of Sant Dnyaneshwar to Pandharpur in a ‘Palkhi’ and initiated the Dindi festival and other festivities with a lot of fervour and excitement. The celebration has reached a whole new level today. During the olden times, fleets of horses and elephants were donated to the cause of the festival by Shree Rajasaheb who was from Aundh at that time. Funds and help in various forms used to come from many lords, kings and ‘Peshwe Sarkars’ of that time, and continued to get funding from the government even after the government was put into function. Furthermore, in 1852, a Panchayat Committee was established which helped the Palkhi of Dnyaneshwar Maharaj function smoothly during these times.

Ringan Sohla/Festival:

During the Waari festival, there is a highlight called the Ringan Festival. It is conducted at Kadus Phata, Velapur and Vakhri in Maharashtra itself. It is believed to be a very pure and devotional ceremony. The devotees or ‘Warkaris’ stand in an open field holding hands in a circle. And in the midst of them all, the horse of Saint Dnyaneshwar is believed to run. There is a widespread belief of the devotees that this horse, affectionately called ‘Maulicha Ashwa’ is believed to be ridden by the saint himself. 


The Waari and Palkhi attracts devotees from all over the world with enthusiastic participation and that is a highlight of this entire ceremony. A concept of ‘Dindi’ was introduced for the benefit of the devotees who participate in the Waari. Every Dindi has a leader who can be anybody irrespective of gender. Some religious foundations and temples have their own Dindis participating in the Waari. They provide for shelter, food and any other help they can provide for the devotees. The leaders of these groups travel ahead and arrange the provisions like accommodation and food for the devotees. These groups are given numbers according to the position that they have occupied in the Waari. The Dindis travel either infront of or behind the Palkhi as a rule of discipline followed by the devotees.