Let I tell you today hot indian Search Aashadhi Ekadashi dawns on Wednesday, Pandharpur in Maharashtra's Solapur district, already brimming with devotees, will play host to lakhs more, as the worshippers of Lord Vithal come seeking his blessings.
Among those who have flocked here from states including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, will be a contingent of 137 devotees who have walked all the way from Mulgao in Goa.
The group, which includes an 80-year-old woman, has travelled under the initiative of renowned folk artist Udaybuwa Phadke.
Mahadev Tirodkar, 32, one of those who have undertaken the 200 km-walk said, "It is one of the most unique moments in my life."
In fact, devotees from Goa have thronged to Pandharpur since pre-Portuguese times. Most walked, often barefoot, with travels through jungles part of the 'rite of passage'.
Folklore holds that Lord Vithal appeared to his devotee Vataba Dulba Rane Morlekar, instructing him to carry the idols out of Pandharpur.
Morlekar, accordingly, brought the idols of Lord Vithal and his consorts Rukmini and Satyabhama to Goa, establishing the Shri Vithal temple at Vithalapur in Karapur, Sanquelim.
The temple is today considered the Pandharpur of Goa and is open to all irrespective of caste or creed.
As part of the Ekadashi celebrations this year, various cultural and religious programmes have been organized by the Vithalapur temple's committee. A devotional music concert by Pandit Raja Kale will be held at 5pm on Wednesday.
Similarly, at the Vithal temples in Comba-Margao, Ponda and Akhada-Marcela, bhajans and other programmes have been organized to celebrate Aashadi Ekadashi.