Vārkarī Panth

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A Marathi Vaiṣṇava bhakti movement, whose (mostly householder) followers are devoted to Viṣṇu as Viṭhobā. Their principal religious practice takes the form of quarterly pilgrimages to Viṭhobā's temple at Paṇḍharpur in Maharashtra, culminating each year in a major yātra undertaken by over half a million pilgrims in Āṣāḍha (June–July). During the pilgrimage, Vākarīs sing the songs (abhaṅgas) of the numerous poet-saints (sants) associated with the tradition, whom they also worship, making separate pilgrimages to their samādhis. The presumed founder of the Panth is Jñāneśvara, whose decorated chariot, or pālkhī, carrying the imprint of his feet, plays a major part in the pilgrimage. Among other important Vārkarī poet-saints (male and female, low and high caste) are Janābāī, Nāmdev, Muktābāī, Cokāmeḷā, Gorā-kumbhār, Ekanātha, Bahiṇābāī, Tukārām, and Mahīpati, the last of whom produced collections of Marathi stories about the other saints.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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