Located on the banks of the river Chandrabhaga in the Solapur district of Maharashtra, Pandharpur is one of the famous Hindu pilgrim destinations. A lot of devotees from every nook and corner of the country visit this place to seek blessings from Lord Vittala.
Legend Of The Temple
A boy named Pundalik lived with his parents in the forest of Dandiravan. Pundalik was a very devoted son, but after his wedding, the guy turned out to be a nightmare to his parents. Unable to bear the torture from their son, the old parents decided to go to Kashi.
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Unfortunately, Pundalik overheard the conversation of his parents and decided to go along with them. He continued to ill-treat his parents even during the journey by making them wash and groom the horses at night when they camped. The tired parents sought refuge in the hermitage of sage Kukkutswami for a few days before they reached Kashi.
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On one such night, while the parents slept, Pundalik remained awake and saw a bunch of beautiful women walking inside the hermitage with soiled clothes. They completed the chores at the sage's place and went inside the puja room to offer prayers.
As they walked outside, the soiled clothes miraculously turned neat and tidy. Astonished by the sight, Pundalik walked up to the women to see if it was real or a dream. The women identified themselves as the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and others. They said that their clothes got soiled since a lot of people took a dip in them to wash away their sins.
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They also mentioned that ill-treating parents is one of the biggest sins and told Pundalik that he was a great sinner, before they left. Soon after their departure, Pundalik sat over and thought about his transformation after his marriage.
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Pundalik realized his blunder and sought forgiveness from his parents for all his misdeeds and decided to devote himself to their service. One day, impressed by the devotion of Pundalik towards his parents, Lord Vishnu walked straight from heaven to the hermitage where Pundalik and his family lived and knocked on the door.
Pundalik decided to first attend to his parents and then to the visitor. When the knock on the door continued, Pundalik picked a brick lying nearby and threw it at the door asking the visitor to stand, till he saw him.
Pundalik came out and at the sight of Lord Vishnu at his door, he fell at his feet begging pardon for his act. Pleased with his great devotion towards his parents, the Lord granted a boon to Pundalik.
Pundalik asked the Lord to stay there on earth and bless his devotees forever as Vithoba. "Vittu" in the local dialect of Maharashtra, (Marathi) means brick. Since Lord Panduranga stands on the brick thrown by Pundalik, he came to be known as "Vithoba".
The Architecture Of The Temple
The temple was built in the Hemadpanthi style of architecture by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. Hemadpanthi style of architecture is known for its construction using limestone and soil. This architecture is named after a prime minister, Hemadpant, from the court of Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri. This style of architecture became prominent in the 13th century and there are a lot of temples in Maharashtra built in this style.
About The Temple
The entrance of the temple faces the Chandrabhaga river. At the entrance there are graves of the great saints Namdev and Chockamela, followed by a shrine of Lord Ganapathi and a hall used for bhajans. A few steps will lead to the shrine of Lord Vithoba where his face is clearly visible to all his devotees.
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The devotees are allowed to touch the feet of the Lord and a queue is maintained for this. There are also small shrines dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Lord Garuda right in front of the main Vithoba temple.
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The first step of the temple is named after the greatest devotee called Namdev and the step is called Namdev Chi Payari, meaning step of Namdev. It is said that as a kid, Namdev came to the temple to offer oblation to the Lord. When the Lord did not appear in front of him, he banged his head non-stop on the first step until he bled profusely. The Lord appeared and ate the oblation and coined the step as Namdev Chi Payari.
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Other Shrines Inside The Temple Complex
Shrines of Lord Narasimha, Venkateshwara, Nagaraj, goddess Rukmini, Satyabhama and Annapoorna are present in the temple premises.
Interesting Facts About The Temple
This is the first temple where the doors were opened to the untouchables under the leadership of Sane Guruji who went on a fast unto death.
The river here is in the shape of a half-moon. Hence, the name Chandrabhaga has been coined.
Fairs And Festivals At The Temple
The temple observes Kartiki Ekadashi and Ashadi Ekadashi with great importance. Ashadi Ekadashi is celebrated during the months of June-July and a grand procession called Dindi Yatra, which involves a lot of rituals is observed at the temple.
Timings At The Temple
The temple door opens at 4 AM in the morning and closes at 11 PM at night.