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Ankali to Shri Kshetra Alandi pilgrimage led by Mauli’s horses

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The Pandharpur wari is a 21-day pilgrimage procession from various parts of Maharashtra to Pandharpur, the abode of Lord Vitthal. While the wari culminates on Ashadi Ekadashi.

One major part of this tradition is the pilgrimage led by horses from Ankali to Shri Kshetra Alandi from where they join other groups en route to Pandharpur.

Two horses from the Shitole-Anklikar’s palace from Ankali in Belagavi district on 10th June 2022 at 9 am and would reach Alandi on 20th June.

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Shrimant Sardar Kumar Mahadji Raje Shitole Sarkar -Ankalikar and Shrimant Sardar Urjit Singh Raje Shitole Sarkar said that this is a 190-year old tradition and this year after the Covid rules have been relaxed thousands of pilgrims would throng the 11-day journey to Alandi from Ankali.

The Shitoles also have traditional rights to resolve all the disputes within the wari and among various ‘dindis’ (troops) part of the procession. The Shitole Sarkar family from Ankali near Belagavi is still following the age-old tradition by providing an excellent breed of horses.

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The Mauli’s horses along with the pilgrims will make a 30 km journey each day which is planned meticulously in advance and stay and food arrangements are made at each stop.

Shrimant Sardar Kumar Mahadji Raje Shitole Sarkar -Ankalikar says this is a 190-year-old tradition. “The then King of Ankali supported Saint Dnyanewhar when the saint faced opposition from groups for his progressive views in his writings and preaching. The saint settled in Alandi after translating the Gita into Marathi,” he says.

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The King left to meet Saint Dnyanewhar with two of his best horses in 1832 and from there, they moved to Pandharpur. The tradition of going to Alandi and then to Pandharpur for the Ashad Ekadashi celebrations has its roots in this, Mahadji added.

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