Curfew in Pandharpur from Tuesday ahead of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'

Pune, June 29 (PTI) A curfew will be imposed in Pandharpur in Solapur district of Maharashtra from Tuesday afternoon ahead of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi' which falls on July 1, an official said on Monday.

The step has been taken to prevent gathering of people in the pilgrimage town which has reported COVID-19 cases.

Lakhs of 'warkaris' or devotees of Lord Vitthal from various parts of Maharashtra and some neighbouring states throng the temple in Pandharpur every year on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.

However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has cancelled the annual wari pilgrimage, which is characterised by lakhs of people walking to Pandharpur with palanquins from various parts of Maharashtra.

The government has allowed 'padukas' (holy footprints) of saint-poets Dnyaneshwar and Tukarm to be taken to Pandharpur by a bus with only 20 'warkaris'.

The order of curfew was issued by Solapur collector Milind Shambharkar on Monday night.

It restricts movement of people in and around Pandharpur town from 2 pm on June 30 to 12 midnight on July 2.

A limited number of people have been given permission to open the temple.

Only nine 'palkhis' (palanquins) and padukas have been allowed to enter the temple town this year.

As per the convention, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will perform the traditional 'mahapooja' of Lord Vitthal on July 1 along with his wife. PTI SPK NSK NSK