History of Pandharpur
Long ago there was a brave king. His name was ‘Muchkung’. In the battle of Gods and Devils, Gods demanded help of the king. Making a great feat the king gave a great victory to the Gods, favorably disposed on his deed God told him to demand blessing. The king said, I am very tired, I want to rest now. If anyone brings an obstacle in my rest, he will be burnt by my eyes. Then he slept in cave, in the incarnation of Shree Krishna. The strongest cannot die devil ‘Kalyavan’ who by any weapons. Shree Krishna by trick brought him in where the king Muchkund and hide in the darkness. Kalyavan came in the cave. He saw the shawl of Shree Krishna, so he gave a strong kick to the king. As soon as the king Muchkund awakened from his sleep, he burnt the devil by his eyes. Then Bhagavan Shree Krishna gave darshan to Muchkund. He told the king all events. Then the king Muchkund begged to the Lord stand him as it is. Our Lord Shree Krishna has him front of Muchkund, promised his to complete his desire in the next life.
Thus the king Muchkund was borne as the name of great devotee Pundlik. He lived in ‘Dindir forest’ which was near to Pandharpur. To complet the promise shree Krishna came in Dindir forest, to find Rukmini. Pundalik hated his father and mother. His wife was an obstinate woman. He was set off to Kashi pilgrimage with his wife. On the road he lived in the Hermitage of Kukkut Muni. Kukkut Muni was a great devotee of his parents. He got a great strength by servicing of his parents. Many sinful persons take bath in the river. So they want to become soared, Hence our sacred rivers Ganga. Yamuna and Saraswati serviced in this heritage. It was experienced by Pundlik that the rivers perched. He got knowledge and then he took a bath of service to His parents. Then he returned to Pandhari. He devoted his entire life in the service of his parents.
Seeing of his devotion about his parents our Lord delighted on him. He came near the Pundlik’s place, where he lived. He saw Pundlik lost in the service of his parents. Lord gave him darshan and blessings. Pundlik prayed him to stand on brick stone and wait. Lord approved his pledge. Pundlik put a stone brick for standing. The bank of Bhima River means the second ‘Dwarka’. Our Lord Shree Krisna has changd his form and become Shree Vitthal. From that time our Lord Vitthal has been standing on brick of his devotee Shree Pundlik. Vitthal means our Lord Shree Krishna.
Vitthal Temple Pandharpur
The location of the temple is on the middle of the vitthal hill (Vitthal Tekadi). The temple was very small in the period of “Yadav”. After 13th century the extension of temple might spread according to the devotion of ‘Lord Shri Vittal’. It is difficult to say exact period of the construction of the temple because a lack of proof. Different parts of the temple like ‘Ganesh Mandap’. Subharna – mandap’ and Garbhagar were built by different person. If we see the construction of the temple, we will see the part is different from another.
Before some years there was narrow road and many allies around the temple. Therefore there is a very rush. Then the rough outline of the city development has been prepared by the co-operation of Maharashtra Government. Now some improvements are being made. The pradakshina marg and palkhi marg are made broad. The Road from S.T. stands ‘Swa. Sawarkar path has been divided into two parts are made broad. The face of the temple is on Eastern direction. The east-west lengh of the temple is 350 feet and North-south length is 170 feet. The hight is 25 to 32 feet. The peaks of the temple are high. The peaks have been decorated by different idols of god and goddess and design. They have been painted. The blue and yellow light flows have been thrown on the painted peaks. During the celebration days there is a wonderful decoration of lights.
The temple has four doors for the entrance. The doors are used by different reason. On the east side, there are three doors.
1) The main gate or first door is called ‘Namdev darwaja’. It is called ‘Mahaddvar’ (a big door). Here ‘Namdev’ who was beloved of Lord Shri Vittal took self immolation in 1350 A.D. with his 14 family members. The step is called ‘Namdev Payari’. Every year anniversary day of Namdev is celebrated. The step is ornamented by brass metal. The right side of step there is the idol of Namdev. The pious people first take Darshan of this Namdev step without touching. There is a stand of water on the right side of the steps called ‘Vrundavan dam’. Next of Namdev step there is the self immolation of Saint Chokhamela. The urns of Saint Chokhamela’s were brought by Namdev built Chokhamela’s immolation. The restoration of chokhoba’s immolation made by the king of phaltan. He built a big umbrella. This reference is given on the immolation. In this area there are two idols of Ganesh, Saraswati and two veergal besides of the chokhamela immolation. But now they have been replaced.
2) On the right hand of the Namdev step there is a big Indian fig tree. There is eastern face door adjacent of the temple which we can go into the temple. New Darshan mantap. A bridge has been built between Darshan Mantap and the temple.
3) The third eastern face door which we call ‘Tati Door’. If you enter through this door, you will see ‘Kanhopatra temple’, ‘Laxmi Mandir’ and ‘Venkoba Temple.’ The temple has two doors on southern side. 1) First door for the ladies. 2) Second joined to Bajirao Padsali.
There is big and only one main door at the western side. It is called ‘Paschim dvar’. The vehicles stop here coming from S.T. stand and ‘Choufula’. You can park you vehicles there. This door is used for exit during celebrations.
On the Northern side there are three main doors.
- Rukmini door.
- Rukmini – Gopur door. If you can enter through this door, you will see the red stone Rukmini Sabha Mandap. Here religious rities like. ‘A narration punctuated by music (Kirtan), pearching of the devotion etc. is carried out.
- The entrance door of Bodhlebuva’s verandha.
After climbing the steps of Rukmini Temple, you can see the ‘Rahi and Satyabhama temples’. The idols are very beautiful and attractive. Besides the sanctuary of Rukmini temple, there are main four parts of the temple.
- Main Sanctuary
- Middle House
- Main pavilion
- Sabha Mandap on the north side a room which is a bedroom of Rukminimata.
The doors of the bedroom are covered by silver sheet. There is a silver cot and velvet bed. A square beautiful step is in the sanctuary, Beautiful where goddess Shri Rukmini’s idol stands up. Her face is towards the east. Her hands are on her waist. After daily worshiping she wears ornaments and cloths. Her face is cheerful and after seen, her face the pious people says ‘Aaisaheb’ or ‘Matoshri’. The pious people plead her blessing. After darshan you can go the back side of the temple where you can take darshan of the peak. Then you can enter into sabha mandap. Recently the ‘Sabhamandap’ has been artificially built by red stone. You will get to see many pictures of ‘Rukminimata’. The pictures are based on the wedding story of Goddess ‘Rukminimata’, the beautiful attraction of ‘Rukminimata Temple’. The beautiful pictures of Goddess attract the pious people. There is a high stand lamp.
Within four months from July to Octombar and Navratra Mahostav many religious programs are held in ‘Sabhamandap’. During this period she is worshipped daily by different ways. The Sabhamandap is decorated by various blossoms of flowers.
There is a same place after you come upwards, there are many small rooms, and in these rooms you can see small idols if great Hindu Gods and Goddesses. At the end of this space there is a door. Through this door you can enter this ‘Solkhambhi’. There you will find an ancient inscription. You can see the names of donors on the inscription. The pious people rub their back on this inscription. They believe that after rubbing back a man can be freed from human life. In fact the inscription is becoming indistrct by rubbing the back of pious people. Now a day’s an iron net covered on the inscription.
After taking ‘darshan’ of all gods and goddesses you can come in ‘Solkhambahi’ where you can take darshan again of Lord Shri Vitthal.This Solkhambi has 3 doors on the side. On right side you can see again an important inscription.
After Darshan the pious people come in ‘Mahaddwar’ where there are small temples of ‘Shri Kalbhairavnth’, ‘Shri Shanaishwar’, ‘Shri Shakambari’, and next ‘Shri Kanhobaraya’. You can see a newly constructed shri Saint Narahari Sonar Temple in front of ‘Kanhobaraya Temple’. The temple is maintained by the goldsmith society. There is a historical tradition behind this temple. Near to the ‘Narhari Sonar Temple’ there is a temple of ‘Shri Malikarjun’. A famous Saint Narahari Sonar daily worshipped the ‘Shivaling’. He had a house and shop. He was stubborn devotee of Lord Shiv. ‘Lord Vitthal’ gave him darshan of the Shivling through idol of himself; from that day Shiv and Vishnu had united. Therefore the gift of this is the meaning of Har and Hari, our Lord Vithhal has possessed ‘Shivling’ on his head as symbol of meeting. There was a big village gate. In road widening the gate was fallen down.
Vitthal Temple, Website