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A Spiritual Journey: From Ankali to Shri Kshetra Alandi, Guided by Mauli’s Majestic Horses

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By uday

The Pandharpur Wari is a 21-day pilgrimage that takes place in Maharashtra. The journey begins in various parts of the state and culminates in Pandharpur, the abode of Lord Vitthal, on Ashadi Ekadashi. One of the most significant aspects of this tradition is the pilgrimage led by horses from Ankali(Belagavi) to Shri Kshetra Alandi, where they join other groups en route to Pandharpur.

Two horses named Hira and Moti from the Shitole-Anklikar’s palace in Ankali, Belagavi district, embarked on this journey. The Shitole Sarkar family has been following this age-old tradition for 192 years and is known for providing an excellent breed of horses. They also have traditional rights to resolve disputes within the wari and among various ‘dindis’ (troops) parts of the procession.

The horses, along with the pilgrims, will cover a distance of 30 km each day, and meticulous planning has been done for their stay and food arrangements at each stop. The journey from Ankali to Alandi will take 11 days, and the Shitole Sarkar family is proud to continue this tradition that has been passed down through generations.

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According to Shrimant Sardar Kumar Mahadji Raje Shitole Sarkar -Ankalikar, the tradition dates back to 1832 when the then King of Ankali supported Sant Dnyanewhar, who faced opposition from groups for his progressive views in his writings and preaching. The saint settled in Alandi after translating the Gita into Marathi, and the King left to meet him with his two best horses. From there, they moved to Pandharpur, and the tradition of going to Alandi and then to Pandharpur for the Ashad Ekadashi celebrations has its roots in this.

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