A sparkling gemstone in the pilgrimage circuit of Maharashtra, Vitthal temple is an important seat of the Warkari sect, who has given the state a unique cultural and social dimension. The temple is sacred to Lord Vitthal or Vithoba, also known as Pandurang and Pandharinath. In Hinduism, Vithoba is considered as the manifestation of the god Vishnu or his avatar, Krishna. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai.
Most Impressive Examples of Religious Architecture
The current structure of the Vitthal Temple is built by the contribution of Peshwas of Pune, the Shindes of Gwalior and the Holkars of Indore. It is located on the bank of Chandrabhaga river on a small hillock. A flight of stairs leads to the temple. And on the lowest step of the same stair, there is a bronze bust of Sant Namdeo, a reserved poet-saint from Maharashtra. It is said that Sant Namdeo took ‘samadhi’ at that very place. Right in front of this step, there is the samadhi of Sant Chokhamela.
Interiors of the temple are extremely beautiful. There is a big quadrangular wooden hall with ‘deepmalas’ that leads to a square hall called sola khambi, which has beautiful ceiling and 16 pillars. The temple complex accommodates various shrines, halls, cloisters, etc. The temple, as it stands today, is a composite ensemble of various buildings erected during the 16th through 18th centuries CE.
The main sanctum of the temple has the beautiful image of Vithoba in ‘samacharana’ pose. Kalidas has described this position as ‘steady as an unflickering lamp’. Another unique thing about the temple is that devotees never pray for the fulfillment of material needs. Rather, the prayers are to seek liberation from worldly bonds.
Don't miss the holy dip in river Chandrabhaga as it is believed to have the power to wash all the sins. In May 2014, the temple became first in India to invite women and people from backward classes as priests.
Best Time to Visit
On Ashadi Ekadasi (June- July), a Dindi procession takes place at the temple, which attracts devotees from different parts of the world. A grand palanquin procession is organized at the temple; during which tourists can see many fancy light decorations, musical performances, and traditionally dressed people all around. Along with the procession, ‘Seva Dindi’ is also organized at the temple. During the Seva Dindi, the people on pilgrimage undertake selfless service to the poor and needy.
How to Reach
To reach the temple, tourists can take regular trains and buses. Several trains, including an overnight Mumbai-Pandharpur fast passenger train, are available.
- 4:00 AM – Opening of the gate of Namdev payari
- 4:30 AM – Kakada bhajan of Vitthal Rukmini
- 4:30 AM to 5:30 AM – Nityapooja
- 6:00 AM – Darshan timing
- 11:00 AM –Mahanaivedya (offering of lunch to Lord)
- 4:30 PM – Poshakh (clothing of Lord)
- 6:45 PM – Dhoop Arati
The Schedule of the program called Nityopchar of Lord. This program starts early in the morning every day.
- 4:30 AM to 6:00 AM - Kakada bhajan of Shri Vitthal and Rukmini and Nitya pooja
- 11:00 AM to 11:15 AM - Mahanaivedya
- 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM - Poshakh
- 6:45 PM to 7:00 PM - Dhoop Arati
- 11:30 AM to 12.00 PM - Shej Arati
*Some Changes area made according to the festivals, Yatras, Ekadashi.
- 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM (Darshan remains closed during 11.00 am to 11.15 am for Mahanaivedya)
- 11:15 AM to 4:30 PM (it remains closed from 4:30 PM to 5.00 PM for Poshakh)
- 5:00 PM to 11:15 PM (it remains closed during the night after 11:45 PM)
Sangli District, Pandharpur 413304, India
Located on the bank of Bhima river in Solapur district, Pandharpur is an important pilgrimage center of Maharashtra. So when on a visit to the Vitthal Temple, do visit the following attractions:
- Bhakt Pundalik Mandir
- Loha danda Tirth
- Lakhubai Temple
- Namdev Payri