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IT Dindee volunteers walk every year from Alandi to Pune. This distance is approximately 21 km. The group assembles at Sri Sai Mandir at the outskirts of Alandi. This assembly begins at around 5:30am as later it becomes difficult to reach to this spot. So we recommend everyone to start from their respective homes in Pune at around 4:00am. Last year we have done common bus to take the group to Sai Mandir,

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The Waree and the Warkaris - I
By Kaustubh Karnik Posted on June 30, 2008
Kaustubh is a senior level IT professional working in Pune
As a kid, I heard my grandmother talk of the stories of the panDharee chee waree. Vithoba(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vithoba - Rakhumai) at the homestead devghar (temple) used to get extra offering on the aashaaDhee ekaadashee (the 11th day of the waxing period of moon in the month of aashaaDh). The weary call after asthma attack, by my grandmother usually was “vachav ray Panduranga, kiti anta baghashil” (Panduranga, have mercy).

So was Pandurang introduced to me; – the savior of the ordinary, the up lifter of the downtrodden, the helper of the weary, the chief protagonist of the bhakti-movement.

It may have started as a simple preaching from the likes of Sant Namdev and the translation of Geeta by Sant Dnyaneshwar(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnyaneshwar) or the ovi-abhanga with loaded messages by the likes of Sant Tukaram(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tukaram), Sant Janabai, Gorha Kumbhar, et al. This avatar of Vishnu, worshipped mainly in Maharashtra and some portions of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh etc. has a huge following. The intellectuals and social-reformers of Maharashtra owe a lot to the bhakti-movement. The strong but spiritual revolt against the ills of caste system may have laid the foundation for the education and emancipation centuries later.

The bhakti-movement culminates into what’s known as a waree – a long march from Alandi and Dehu and many other places in Maharashtra that reach the deity at Pandharpur on aashaaDhee ekaadashee every year.

Every year, two palkhis – the palanquin carts – carrying the padukas of Tukaram Maharaj and Dynaneshwar Mauli start from Dehu and Alandi respectively. After a walk of more than 250 km, over 22 days, these palkhis reach Pandharpur. Almost 1 – 1.2 million devotees participate in this long march. The devotion, teetering on the edge of madness, of these devotees is more than words can explain. People of all walks of life – the rich, the poor, the farmers, the workers, the young, the old, the men, the women, the rural folks, the urban folks – participate in this long march. No one invites them, no one, not even the deity gives them anything in physical form. The egoless and selfless march draws the warkaris to meet the big lord every year. But what draws the warkaris to this madness?

The Waree and the Warkaris - II
Posted By Kaustubh Karnik on September 17, 2008
Kaustubh is a senior level IT professional working in Pune
So, what draws the warkaris to this spiritual madness? Yours truly tried to find that out this year. It all started with a good friend asking me, “we are joining the waree this year also; will you join us?” All we had to do was walk from close to Alandi up to Shivaji Nagar. I was skeptical at first. And I was assured that it has nothing to do with religion, being a believer or god-men and saints. Anyone is welcome to join in. You will not feel the distance or tiredness; you can stop at any time or just return from where you are, if you are tired. There are a lot of people around. Just walk for the experience…. It did not take a lot of cajoling. I know of a few friends and relatives who have done this, I knew of the history and the intense spiritual reckoning that was attached to it. So, I decided to take the plunge.

Initially, I was skeptical of not only the religiousness but also of the physical challenge, it presented. But it was a challenge worth accepting. So the plan was made – walk in the shoes that you are most comfortable in, carry a bottle of water, may be an umbrella and just be there at 4:15, at my apartment – so I was told.

4:15, you mean in the AM? Now, this was about to present another challenge. But it was necessary. As the warkaris start walking towards the city, many streets are closed and if you have to be part of the waree, it is better to be early than late. Sharp 3:20 AM, my alarm bell rang. I was up and ready to set out of the house at 4:00

At 6:00 AM, we were already on Alandi road, only 5 km from Alandi and waiting for the palkhi to arrive. It was nice – standing on the hillock, watching the sun rise; and watching the warkaris already set and walking towards Pandharpur. Despite of the crowd, there was no din. Everyone was walking in an orderly fashion, singing the hymns.

In the spare time, we were talking about the warkari sect, the management principles and experiences of other warkaris we know. We met two such groups – who walk from Alandi to Pandharpur every year. They were sharing their experiences – you forget the entire material world, no newspapers, no e-mails, no worries but for the strong urge to meet the lord. The waree embodies all the spiritual, management (in modern terms) and behavioral aspects. It changes you as a person; I was assured.

Eventually, the time came for the chariot carrying the palkhi to come. The sign of approaching chariot was the more organized dindis that started coming first. A dindi is simply a group of the likeminded people, who register to walk together. Each dindi has a group of flag-bearers in the front, the devotees carrying tulsi plants and water, the group of devotees who are singing the hymns – they also carry cymbals and drums (mrudunga). The characteristic beat of cymbals and drums fills the air and gives a rhythm to the walk! These are followed by the participants of the dindi. A dindi-pramukh – the head of this group – walks beside the dindi and maintains order in his dindi.

As the devotees get engrossed in singing the hymns their cadence increases. So does the pace of walk and then the walk itself changes into a dance step that matches the rhythm of the hymn. The crescendo almost has the warkaris dancing without being aware of the world beside them. They play; they sing; they dance. Some just walk. They take breaks; after all, it is a long walk! People distribute food. The waree management also makes provisions of food of the warkaris; the organization takes care of the lodging arrangements. (The waree-management should be a topic for another post.) But meeting the lord is what drives them.

The rules of waree say, you either make your own food or sustain on charity, so a restaurant was out of question. We had our food at a charity in a temple. The afternoon sun was now taking its toll, but the enthusiasm had not waned.

And this continues for 22 long days before the waree reaches Pandharpur.

After saying good bye to the waree at Shivaji Nagar, we eventually returned home. Just a day’s walk of almost 15-16 km was killing the legs. A nice hot shower cured most of the pain. Thankfully, the next day was a weekend and enough time to rest. The waree also rested in Pune for two days before proceeding on its way forward.

Will I join the waree next year? The answer is yes. All I need extra is a little bit of sunscreen.

Waree - My Experience
Posted By Anagha Karnik Posted on June 18, 2009
Anagha works for a IT company in Pune and participated in IT Dindee in 2009
Yesterday I went for the annual waree, which is a pilgrimage where devotees of Sant Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar walk along with the palkhis from Alandi to Pandharpur. We were a bunch of IT people with their families and we did the first stretch from Bhosari phata near ALandi to Wakdewadi, Pune. A complete 21 kms in a day.

It was nice to see the fervor amongst people. The walk is long and the day was extremely sunny. No trace of rains yet in Pune. It is a pure test of endurance for people who do the complete waree from Alandi to Pandharpur which is approximately 250 kms to be covered in 21 days spread across a little less than a month. It is amazing to see how a tradition goes on for hundreds of years together. People turn up in lakhs, from all strata of society, "UNINVITED" and walk together with complete discipline and timeliness chanting bhajans. Only deep faith in God can make people do this year over year.

The mayor of Pune along with some other so called politicians were waiting to welcome the palkhi in town but little are they concerned about providing basic amenities to these warkaris. No trash bins, no water and public toilets are unheard of. The road is devoid of any trees and I am sure the warkaris must be feeling the heat of having elected a stupid government.

This small and first attempt in my life is my only claim to fame. My name found a small place in the newspaper ;) and I am very thrilled about it. Here goes the link



If anyone wishes to join the IT Dindee, then mailto: contact@waari.org and itdindee@gmail.com
Waari - The Buzz that I saw in my house
Posted By Vrushali Katikar Posted on May 16, 2010
Vrushali is student of Vikhe Patil Memorial School, Pune studying in 10th Grade
Every year Maharashtra experiences an extremely devotional and lively event around the month of June. Sant Tukaram and Sant Dynaneshwar were two such enlightened personalities who played an important part in teaching the people of Maharashtra, values such as humanity, equality, and devotion towards God.

IT dindi is one such group of people working in various software companies in Pune ,whose hearts are filled with devotion and gratitude towards Vitthal- Rukmini and eyes filled with hope and determination that they would acknowledge this mesmerizing and serene dindi and help the “waarkaries” who take part, in reaching their destination with minimal hardships.

Members of IT Dindi try to provide basic and necessary products to the ‘bhakts’ such as biscuits or even scarves to protect them from the sun’s heat. The main goal of this dindi is to find time from their monotonous working schedules and come together to undertake various activities to show their devotion and love towards God who has blessed them with happiness. Members of this dindi also participate and walk with Sant Dyneshwar ‘s palkhi from Alandi to Pune.

My parents and their friends were already preparing for the palkhi in full swing a month before the actual date!! Right from visiting the supermarket multiple times to check whether they had forgotten something.........to the lively fervor they created during their meetings by enthusiastically coming up with innovative ideas to make the IT Dindee event successful. I still remember how everyone had gathered in my house last year.........at around 5:00 in the morning, each and every ‘bhakt’ was dressed in a white kurta with the traditional maharashtrian hat (Topi) on his head and the women in traditional Indian clothes. They sat around the room waiting for a bus to take them to their first destination----Alandi. As soon as the bus arrived at around 5am, everyone hurriedly got into that and departed from my house……I could hear the loud and penetrating chants of these Puneites ……………Gyanba Tukaram……….