There is perhaps nothing more popular than religious beliefs. Bands of vast groups of people from different walks of life come together with the common purpose of making that holy journey once a year. The Waris or devotees of Lord Vitthal are one such group. This week Reportaaz - “Bolava Vitthal” will try to find out the inspiration behind this palanquin, its history and the thought that goes into the pilgrimage. The yatra is not just spiritual; it‘s an utsav (celebration) of thoughts on humanism which have been taught by many religious saints. Watch this extraordinary episode of Reportaaz on Sunday, 1st July at 11:30 am and 8:30 pm only on IBN-Lokmat.

History tells us that the first Wari went to Pandharpur from Alandi in 1291. Devotees of lord Vitthal from Maharashtra and other states regularly participate in the annual Wari. Thousands of Warkaris walk to Pandharpur chanting the name of Vitthal, singing Bhajans, listening to Pravachan and Kirtan. The Warkari have a string of Tulsi beads around their necks, Gandha and Bukka on the forehead. They walk with flags on their shoulders with cymbals in their hands, sometimes carrying Tulsi plant on their head. On the eleventh day of Ashadh after the new moon people all over Maharashtra observe a fast.

Palanquins of various saints come from various places to Pandharpur; such as Dnyaneshwar from Alandi, Tukaram from Dehu, Nivruttinath from Tryambakeshwar, Sopan Dev from Saswad, Eknath from Paithan, Muktabai from Mehun, Visoba Khechar from Aundhya Nagnath and Gora Kumbhar from Teri. The Palanquin of Saint Dnyaneshwar departs from Alandi on the eighth day of Jyeshtha after full moon and reaches Pandharpur on tenth day of Ashadh after new moon.

This is a march with a difference - the participants exemplify a classic example of cross culture, the turnout mirrors the economy and the motley of spirituality, perseverance and colour makes it the most popular pilgrimage in Maharashtra. Finding its historical source and the reason behind the inspiration of thousands of warkaris is this week‘s Reportaaz - “Bolava Vitthal” on Sunday, 1st July 2012 at 11:30 am and 8:30 pm only on IBN-Lokmat.