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.
Thus there are total nine doors.
After taking darshan of Namdev step, you have to climb some steps. At the entrance of the temple you can see stone mandap. It is narrow and small. On the left side of this mandap, there is an idol of ‘shri siddhivinayak’. Some people say that long ago here the idol of Lord Vitthal was placed. Now above the mandap there is “Nagarkhana”. Early in the morning and in the evening people play an auspicious music. Besides the ‘Nagarkhana’ there is a gymnasium. Now it is used for making ‘Prasad’. There is stored committee’s wheat meal flour.
You can see the lofty wooden mandap after Shri Ganesh Darshan. It is called ‘Mukh Mandap or Mukya Mandap (main Mandap). Its east west length is 120 feet, south, North breadth is 60 feet, and the height is 45 feet. There is a ceiling which is made from teak tree. In the Mandap there are 30 feet’s two Vitthal Rukmini Committee and right side a cooking room of ‘Prasad’, this pavilion was built by ‘Peshwa and Badave’.
On the left hand there is place of holy basil. Here the immolation of the famous devotee of shri vitthal, pralhadbuva badve and kanhoba haridas. Pralhadbuva Badve was saint poet. He commutes on ‘Amrutanubhav’ in Sanskrut language. He wrote on ‘Shri Vitthal’. Anant Maharaj the poet after Pralhadbuva rescued the idol of ‘Shri Vithal’ from foreign attack. Kanhoba Haridas wrote the devotion songs on Shri Vitthal. Today his heirs recite the songs early in the morning. There is the ‘Swami Datta Temple’ on the left side & a 7 feet idol of Shri Samarth Ramdas Swami’. Besides there is ‘Geeta Study Room’, where daily Geeth is recited.
In the Pavillion there are many of various poems which are written on the wall, painted pictures of saints and information boards. Different ceremonies are celebrated in this pavilion. The celebration of Dahihandi is held on ‘Gokul Ashtmi’ and the main pilgrimage.
If you climb through the main pavilion, you can get ‘Treasure Pavillion’ of the length and breadth 50 feet by by 10 feet. There is big bell in the middle of the ‘Treasure Pavillion’ there is big bell which was dedicated by peshwa. On left side there is a ornamental house. Here three doors are to enter in the main temple. Middle door is covered with brass sheet. On both sides of the door there are two artificial idols of the Jay and Vijay. The two idols of Lord Shri Ganesh and Shri Shakambari are in the recess in a wall. We can see the face of lord Vitthal through this door and through the left side door we can go for feet Darsgan.
As soon as you enter the temple, you will see ‘Solkhambi Pavillion’ which stands on 16 stone pillar look like at Karnatak, Tamilnadu’s Temples. Artisanship on the stone is an excellent. There are 64 pictures of Mahabharat carved on the 16 pillars. The length of Pavillion is 64 feet and breadth is 42 feet and height is 12 feet. Also on the pillars you find there are the pictures of the 10 incarnation of Lord Vishnu. One pillar has a picture of one gunman. In the right corner there is a Saint Samadhi of famous Saint Tukaram Maharaj. In the left side of the pavilion is a pillar which is covered by silver sheet. It is called Garud Khamb (means ‘Eagle Pillar’) or ‘Puranaras Khamb ’. Purandardas was a great devotee of Shri Lord Vitthal who came from Karnataka. He wrote and played many devotional songs on ‘Shri Lord Vitthal’ by sitting near this pillar. Before going to ‘Darshan’ pious people embrace the ‘Garud Pillar’. There is a ‘Rangshila’ (Painted stone) in the Solkhambi. Here pious people leap by holding their ears and bow down to the Lord Vitthal. There are two wooden slippers in the right side. By request of Damaji Pant Lord Vitthal gave ‘Darshan to Badshaha of Bidar’. The worker of lord Vitthal gave blesses of Mantra the pious people.
The construction of the Solkhambi pillar might have completed in 1802.
Then there is the entrance of ‘Choukhambi Pavillion’. It has a big door which is covered by silver sheets. Both side of this door has two stone idols. One is of ‘Jay’ and another if of ‘Vijay’. Here is the right side you find Samadhi of ‘Vyasnarayan’.
Choukhambi Pavillion is on four pillars. A small door is at right side. Therefore it is called ‘Hatti Darvaja’ (Elephant door). Worshippers have to enter this door. The desire of worship is made on the ‘Rangshila’ (Painted stone). The Bedroom of Shri Lord Vitthal is at right side of the Choukambi Pavillion. In the bedroom there are bed with velvet was iras and round cushion throne, a circular cushion which are made from white cloth. This velvet bed is made for the rest of shri lord vitthal. The two silver stand lamps and silver utensils are made for ‘Shri Vitthal’. Daily carpet is made for Shri Lord Vitthal to go the room. A iron chain has been set from ‘Choukambi’ to ‘Chavaridhot’ for Darshan. The ‘Chaukambi’ has a wooden railing. The temple’s sanctuary has a wooden railing. The temples sanctuary has a door which has been covered by silver sheet. The walls of sanctuary have been made up of marbal. So the pious people who came to meet Shri Lord Vitthal may inspire by the whole appearance. They have to get perpetual pleasure. They should forget themselves. They may forget all their sorrows and worries. You have to get by feet touching Darshan which is a rare. The pious people forget their consciousness.
The height of lord Vitthal’s dails is 3 feet. The dais which has based on four pillars and has been designed and covered by silver. The dais has with two caved cows on the both sides. The silver plate has been formed the back of Shri Lord Vitthal’s dais. There is also an image of the lamp stands and silver bell on the upper side. The arrangement is available for made water after the bath of Shri Lord Vitthal. It is called ‘Gomukh’ (The mouth of cow). The worshippers sit on the right side.
The height of light complexion idol of Shri Lord Vitthal is three and half feet and ‘Shivling’ on his head, with the hands rested on waist. We forget all our sorrows and when we see the slight smiling face of lord Vitthal.
The lord Vitthal’s idol has been coated a wave of joy flows their body.
Though the idol has been coated the pious people get pleasurable darshan of ‘Shri Vitthal’
The peak is 48 feet high. There are eight ‘Gopur’ (A building is built over) on the peak, it is simple but attractive and in three stages. On the bottom stage the pictures of the riding horses and elephants and the pilgrims who are lost in ‘Bhajan’. On the middle stage the pictures of ‘Ganesh’, ‘Shakambari’, ‘Narshinh’, ‘Garud’, ‘Maruti’, ‘Shrikrishna’, ’Goulani’, and also Samarth Ramdas, Tukaram, Ghaitanya mahaprabhu. The temple is situated on the hill, so the peak looks like high and attractive. A red color flag waves on the peak. The pious people get pleasure by the darshan behind the peak. The peaks look attractive because they have been painted by attractive colors and a flood of light is thought on it. The peak might be of three hundred years.
In Surrounding of the temple
After darshan you have to exit through the south door. As soon as you get out, you will take darshan of ‘Ambabai’, ‘Narayanmuni’, and ‘Parshuram’ now a day’s these idols have been replaced in Mukti Pavilion, with a right trunk Ganpati. Next the steps of the ‘Tati door’, there is the Samadhi of ‘Kanhopatra’. She was a dancer, who was a great devotee. Now you can see the Lord Vyanktesh Temple. It is a small and beautiful temple. After this, there is the ‘Sabhamandap’ where daily devotion programmes are held. You can get Prasad of Ladu and Khichadi every morning and evening. Then there is a temple of ‘Mahalaxmi’. In this temple you can see a beautiful idol of ‘Annapurna’. Next you can get west door where there are the idols of ‘Kanhaba’, Ganpati, ‘Nagoba’ and ‘Shrikrishna’. If you go further you will get the ‘Rukminimata temple’.