Mumbai, Jun 22 (IANS): On the lines of the special pilgrimage forecast for the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand, the IMD has announced a special forecast for the annual Waari pilgrimage in Maharashtra.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) issues such a forecast for the duration of the pilgrimage, which is not just helpful for the pilgrims but more so for the planners, administrators and disaster management personnel in view of the lakhs of people converging at a place over a short duration.
Another recent example of special pilgrimage forecast by IMD was the one issued for Ambubachi Mela, the famous pilgrimage at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, where too thousands of devotees throng over a short duration from July 22 to 26 annually.
Waari essentially is a pilgrimage on foot wherein people walk with a 'palkhi' from Dehu and Alandi near Pune to Pandharpur - nearly 450 kms - in Solapur district, very near to the Karnataka border. Every year, thousands of devotees walk from the two places for the Waari to culminate at Pandharpur on Aashadhi Ekadashi that falls on July 10 this year. Over the years, people travel in vehicles too, only adding to the crowds. On Aashadhi Ekadashi day, there are an estimated 12 lakh people in the small town of Pandharpur that has a population of little over one lakh.
The presiding deity Viththal of Pandharpur has a wide fan following and hence, the Ashadhi Ekadashi waari witnesses participation from both Karnataka and border areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
"We started on Monday when the Tukaram Maharaj palkhi embarked from Dehu. Similarly, the Dnyaneshwar Maharaj palkhi embarked from Alandi on Tuesday. Both travel via Pune to reach together on July 10 at Pandharpur. We would be issuing a special forecast for this entire duration," said K.S. Hosalikar, a senior meteorologist from IMD Pune.
The forecast would be available on IMD Pune website for all to access. The IMD also works in tandem with the government agencies by providing direct inputs to them in view of the smooth management of Waari.