The most ancient and traditional ‘Walkathon’ of Maharashtra

April 6, 2019

Walking is the best exercise for our body and soul. Brisk walking helps us to reduce weight, control blood sugar level and even relieve stress.

Walking has been done on a large scale for thousands of years in Maharashtra. Surprised? The most ancient and traditional walkathon in Maharashtra is during the month of July.

Yes, it is Pandharpur Warkari (pilgrim) Yatra. This World Health Day, let us know about how a tradition is linked to the best and the cheapest exercise and helps to keep us physically fit.

The main motto of this event is to worship Lord Vitthal at Pandharpur. The pilgrims are completely engrossed and everyone singing Abhang for their deity. It is an amazing view.

Every Warkari (pilgrim) with their children and family walk from Alandi to Pandharpur for 21 days and finally, they meet their Lord at Pandharpur on the auspicious day of Ashadhi Ekadashi.

An overview of Pandharpur Yatra

According to the Hindu calendar, it is the 11th Day of Fourth Month “Ashadha”.  This type of day is known as Devshayani Ekadashi. Which literally means that all the Gods are sleeping. It is believed that during this time the evil power is on its peak. So, in order to diminish the evil power, people have some fast during this day.

The Pandharpur yatra begins from Alandi. The Palkhi of Saint Dnyaneshwar then travels to Pune, Saswad, Jejuri, Valhe, Taradgaon, Phaltan, Barad, Natepute, Maisiras, Velapur and finally to Wakhari Pandharpur.

This pilgrimage impacts both physically and mentally to the thousands of people and helps to work efficiently the whole year.

Health Benefits of Pandharpur Pilgrimage

Our ancestor made a number of traditions that we all are unaware of. But every tradition or ritual has a scientific and logical reason. Pandharpur yatra too has a health impact on our body and soul.

This kind of pilgrimage is traditionally done in the month of June/July. So, there are mild monsoon showers during this season.

Pilgrims are basically the farmers, who plough their land and sow the seeds and then participate in the yatra. The seed sown begin to germinate and grow till they return from the pilgrimage.

So this time of the season is perfect for farmers to reduce their worries regarding the rains and about their crops. Also, the farmers are completely engrossed in visiting their deity and the songs aka “abhangs” help them to forget all their worries back in the house.

During this duration of time, our immunity is usually weak owing to the change of season. So, walking for 21 days is the best exercise to boost our immunity and reduce the severity of getting infections.

Researchers have proven that getting into a habit requires 21 days of consistency. Walking for these 21 days helps people to get into a routine of an active and healthy lifestyle.

Finally, we meet our Lord Vitthal and worship him on the day of Ashadhi Ekadashi. On this day people generally fast and eat only foods which are light and easy to digest.

In mythology, it is mentioned that keeping fast is the best way to detox our body and mind. The monsoon showers lower our immunity and they ultimately increase viral infections and diseases. Fasting for one day helps to boost immunity by resting the gut for one day.

The Pandharpur Yatra is indeed a treat to our eyes. Lakhs of people around the world visit and even participate in this pilgrimage. It’s literally a divine blessing to all.

This Maharashtra’s Ancient and traditional Walkathon is a perfect example of implementing a healthy and happy lifestyle.

To know more about the benefits of walking read our blog, The Cheapest Exercise to lose weight and get a glowing face.

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Author Bio: Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali is the Co-Founder and Chief Dental Surgeon at DentalDost. A recipient of the Pierre Fauchard International Merit Award, she is a holistic dentist who believes that everyone should have access to oral healthcare, irrespective of class and geography. She strongly believes that tele-dentistry is the way to achieve that. Dr. Vidhi has also spoken at various dental colleges, addressing the dental fraternity about dental services and innovations. She is a keen researcher and has published various papers on recent advances in dentistry.

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