(Eds: Updates with details on arrival of padukas) Pune, Jul 19 (PTI) Ten palanquins carrying the footprints of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram and other revered saints on Monday evening reached Wakhri, a village close to the temple town on Pandharpur in Solapur district, over 200 kilometres from here, officials said.
The 'padukas' or holy footprints, which came on board 20 buses along with a stipulated number of pilgrims, also called 'warkaris', were given a warm welcome, Solapur Collector Milind Shambharkar said, adding that all arrangements, including police deployment, had been completed en route to Pandharpur for Ashadhi Ekadashi scheduled for Tuesday.
'The padukas will be taken to the respective mutt of the saints on foot. The administration will ensure COVID-19 norms are followed fully. We have already conducted RT-PCR tests of all the people belonging to the temple. Only a limited number of people will be allowed inside the sanctum of the temple on Tuesday,' Shambharkar said.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his wife are scheduled to perform the 'maha puja' of Lord Vithoba at the temple around dawn on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, two flower-decked buses, carrying the 'padukas' and 40 warkaris left from Alandi in Pune as part of the annual 'wari', while two vehicles with the palanquin of Sant Tukaram left from Dehu.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government did not allow pilgrims to make the journey on foot, which is the traditional method, and which every year attracts thousands of the faithful. PTI SPK GK BNM BNM BNM