The Vithoba Temple which located in the Pandharpur in the Solapur district of Maharashtra state is known, to be one of the most visited pilgrim places in India. It receives the largest amount of devotees in the state of Maharashtra. Lord Vitthal who is worshiped as a form of God Krishna along with his consort Rakhumai and is said to be a focal point of devotion especially among the followers of the warkari community as well as Hinduism. Pandharpur Vitthal Temple is one of the most famous and oldest pilgrimage sites in the state.
Go through our article to get more information about Pandharpur Vitthal temple history, significance and a lot more.
Pandharpur Vitthal Temple History
Based on the History of Pandharpur Vitthal Temple the exact date or the year of construction of the Vitthal temple of Pandharpur is unknown, but some earliest inscriptions on the oldest structure of temple belong to Yadav dynasty in the era of 12th & 13th century. However, the name Pandurang can be found on the Rashtrakuta Copper plate inscription that dated in 516 AD indicating that the worship of Vitthal begun as early as the sixth century. Several inscriptions were found in the Padharpur Vitthal temple and surrounding areas which imply the fact that this Temple existed in the 12th and 13th century. An inscription in Alandi referring to deities can be found dating back to 1209.
Before independence, other backward classes were not allowed to enter the premises of the Vitthal temple. In order to change this custom, freedom fighter Sane Guruji went on fast-unto-death. Due to this movement, the gates of the Temple were eventually opened for the untouchables and other casts.
According to the legend, Pundlik was a staunch devotee of Vishnu. He dedicated his whole life to the service of his parents. Impressed by his devotion, one day Lord Krishna decided to visit him and hence he landed in Pndharpur, where he came across Pundalik’s house. But Pundalik asked him to wait because he was busy with his parents, so he threw a brick and asked God to sit and wait. After finishing his work, Pundalik came out, and on seeing the Lord, asked for forgiveness. He even requested him to settle on the banks of River Chandrabhaga with Rakhumai and bless them forever. His wish was granted and Vitthal remained behind. The Lord is accompanied by his consort Rakhumai whose temple has been built separately from Vitthal’s shrine.
A small but very interesting legend associated with the Temple is the naming of the first step of the temple as ‘Namdev Chi Payari”. As the story goes, once a child called Namdev went to the temple to offer Naivedyam to the Lord. He reached to the temple and performed Naivedyam as asked by his mother, but waited to see whether God eat his offering or not. He keeps waiting and becomes disheartened when the Lord doesn’t appear.
With this disappointment, he started banging his head on the feet of the God. Seeing his immense devotion and innocence, the Vitthal appears before him, eats offering and blesses him. After that, Namdev requests Lord to name the first step of the temple with his name so that all the devotees will touch & pass through him to have the Vitthal’s darshan. And since then, the Vitthal Temple’s first step is named as ‘Namdev Chi Payari’.
Vitthal Temple Significance
In this section you can find a complete detailed about the Significance of Vitthal Temple. Check it out right here!!
• Every year, it receives a highest number of pilgrims in the state Maharashtra.
• It’s considered as extremely ancient and sacred temple.
• The temple which located on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River is huge with having six entrance.
• The eastern entrance is called as the Namdev gate or the Mahadwaara, where the Samadhi of Saint Namdev and Saint Chokoba is situated.
• The famed “Namdev chi Payari” is the very first step out of 12 steps that you must climb to reach the Samadhi.
• It has a huge Mandap in the beginning that consisting of a Nagarkhana where various musical instruments are placed and also has shrines dedicated to Hanuman & Garuda.
• The Chowk leads to the Solakhambi Mandap(Mandap with sixteen pillars).
• The graceful and cultural chamber is engraved with Krishna Llilas and the avatars of Vishnu.
• Several smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganpati, Lord Rama & Lakshman, Lord Krishna’s consorts Radha, Satyabhama and Rukmini, Kalabhairav, Kashi Vishwanath, Narsoba and Dattatreya are present inside the complex of this temple.
• It is also praised in several Puranas and Saint Sri Adi Shankaracharya wrote the Pandurangashtakam Stotram in the 8th century for praising Lord Vitthal who also called Pandurang.
• It is believed that the Vitthal has been associated with several gods in the past.
• The Lord Vitthal and Rakhumai signify non-attachment to materialistic desires and symbolizes a life of devotion, forgiveness and duty.
• The Dindi yatra is the unique feature of the Padharpur temple. Every year, thousands of warkaris who worship lord religiously march from their homes to visit the temple on the festivity of Aashadhi Ekadashi.
• In May 2014, it became the first temple in India that women and the people from backward classes to accept the responsibilities of priests.
Timings of Vitthal Temple:
• The temple opens at 4.00 am and closes at 11.00 pm every day
• The Mukha Darshan of Vitthal can be available anytime without waiting in the queue.
• The Sparsh Darshan can be available only by standing in a separate queue.