On Thursday July 1, the prasthan (departure) ceremony of Sant Tukaram Palkhi will take place. All necessary security measures are put in place by the Dehu Temple administration and the state government.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, for the second year in a row, the pilgrimage on foot has been canceled by the state government.
The impact on the economy of Dehu and Alandi villages and several other villages on the palkhi route, which walk to Pandharpur, in 18 days, is considerable.
According to previous experience, Abhay Tilak, chief administrator of the Alandi Devsthan Temple Trust, claims that the total value of the “war economy” each year is ₹1,000 crores.
“Wari is a big event in the state that has happened every year for the past 300 years, and every year the number of warkaris joining the palkhis increases. The wari is not only for these 18 days, but its preparations begin long before. From the course, the roads, making all the other necessary arrangements in the villages, as well as the arrangements made by NGOs and local organizations, everything goes into preparation. The economics of the Wari tradition are valued at ₹1,000 crore and was affected due to Covid-19, ”Tilak said.
Every year tens of thousands of pilgrims walk from Dehu and Alandi to Pandharpur, all faithful to Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar.
This year the two saints will be taken by MSRTC buses to Pandharpur, with only a few warkaris selected on the bus.
Sanjay More, leader of this year’s Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi, said, “We are all ready for the palkhi prasthan ceremony. The entire temple has been disinfected and 100 Warkaris along with temple administrators and administrative staff will be allowed inside the temple. Covid safety protocols will be strictly followed during the ceremony and we call on people not to come to Dehu for the ceremony as the curfew has been imposed in Dehu and Alandi villages. ”