Pandharpur, July 22: Thousands of devotees thronged Vitthal Rukmini Temple in Pandharpur on Sunday during the Ashadi fair held in the holy city. Celebrations of Ashadhi Ekadashi, which falls on July 23, are in full swing in Pandharpur. Devotees offer prayers to Lord Vitthal and his wife Rakhumai on this auspicious occasion.
The devotees have kept the 800-year-old tradition alive as they walk for 21 days in the month of Aashadh (June/July) with the palkhis (palanquin processions) carrying the padukas (sandals) of Sant Dnyaneshwar, Sant Tukaram among other traditions. The devotees undertake a long journey to the Vitthal Rakhumai temple in Pandharpur.
Maharashtra: Devotees throng Vitthal Rukmini Temple in Pandharpur during Ashadi Fair. pic.twitter.com/3xabfCBDIr
— ANI (@ANI) July 22, 2018
With an aim to clear the extra rush of pilgrims attending the Ashadi fair at Pandharpur, the Indian Railways has introduced special train services. Reports inform that the Central Railway zone of Indian Railways will run as many as 72 special train services between New Amravati, Khamgaon, CSMT, Latur, Miraj-Pandharpur and Miraj-Kurduwadi railway stations.
Train 01155 New Amravati-Pandharpur Unreserved Special will leaveNew Amravati at 1400 hours on July 17 and July 20 and will arrivePandharpur at 1115 hrs next day. The train will make 4 trips. In return journey, 01156 Unreserved Special will leave Pandharpur at1600 hrs on July 18 and July 24 and will reach New Amravati at 1040hrs next day.
01153 Khamgaon-Pandharpur Unreserved Special will leave Khamgaon at1620 hrs on July 18 and July 21 and will arrive Pandharpur at 1115hrs same day. The train will make 4 trips. In return journey, 01154 Special will leave Pandharpur at 1600 hrs on July 19 and July 25 and will arrive Khamgaon at 0830 hrs next day.
01151 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Miraj Special will leave CSMT at 0020 hrs on July 22 and arrive Miraj 1605 hrs same day. The train will make 2 trips. Similarly, 01152 Special will leave Miraj at 2055 hrs on July 23 and arrive CSMT at 1225 hrs next day.
01495 Pandharpur-Kurduwadi Special will leave Pandharpur at 1335 hrs on July 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 and will arrive Kurduwadi at1500 hrs same day. The train will make 12 trips. Similarly, 01496 Special will leave Kurduwadi at 1530 hrs on July 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 and will arrive Pandharpur at 1635 hrs same day.
01489 Latur-Pandharpur Special will leave Latur at 0745 hrs on July 20, 23, 24, 25 and 27 and will arrive Pandharpur at 1245 hrs same day. The train will make 10 trips. In return journey, 01490 Special will leave Pandharpur at 1400 hrs on July 20, 23, 24, 25 and 27 and will arrive Latur at 1900 hrs same day.
Train 01491 Miraj-Kurduwadi Unreserved DEMU Special will leave Mirajat 1440 hrs daily from July 19 to July 28 and will arrive Kurduwadiat 2000 hrs same day. The train will make 20 trips. 01492 Special will leave Kurduwadi at 2030 hrs daily from July 19 to July 28 and will arrive Miraj at 0045 hrs next day.
Reports also informed that the Maratha community, which has been agitating for the last two years, has warned Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that if the Maratha reservations is not implemented fully, his spouse Amruta will not be allowed to perform the first pooja of Vitthal Rukmini at Pandharpur. The Marathas have been pressing their various demands including reservations for Maratha community in school, college admission and in government employment.