Thackeray performs 'maha puja,' prays for end of COVID-19 crisis
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday performed the maha puja of Lord Vitthal and Goddess Rukmini at a temple in Pandharpur town of Solapur district on the occasion of "Ashadhi Ekadashi," and prayed to God for an end to the COVID-19 crisis. As per the long-standing tradition, the chief minister performed the puja with his wife Rashmi Thackeray at 2:30 am.
The relevance of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'
The "Ashadhi Ekadashi," one of the most important Hindu festivals, marks the culmination of a pilgrimage called wari that devotees (known as warkaris) undertake from across the state on foot to reach the Pandharpur temple town. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has not allowed the pilgrimage on foot since last year.
Aaditya Thackeray was also present at the puja
After performing the puja, Thackeray said, "Let there be a sea of devotion in Pandharpur and warkaris be allowed to perform wari on foot again. I prayed to Lord Vitthal to eradicate COVID-19." His son and state minister Aaditya Thackeray was also present on the occasion. Warkari couple Keshav Kolte and Indubai Kolte got the opportunity to perform the rituals alongside the Thackerays.
Many devotees returned home without sanctum sanctorum's darshan
CM said, "Devotion and self-confidence are needed to come to Pandharpur on foot after covering a long distance, and that self-confidence helps one wade through challenges." He noted that every year lakhs of warkaris used to come here on this day, but many of them could not even go inside the temple's sanctum sanctorum for darshan and had to return from outside.
CM gave Rs. 5 crore to Pandharpur Municipal Council
Appreciating the structure of the temple's sanctum sanctorum, Thackeray said, "Every pillar, every stone, and every idol here expresses something." He asked Solapur district Guardian Minister Dattatray Bharne to showcase this heritage to the world and suggested undertaking a project for it. The CM handed over a cheque of five crore rupees on behalf of the state government to the Pandharpur Municipal Council.