Part 15 -Uttara Chidambaram and Pandharpur;108 Famous Hindu Shrines in Maharashtra (Post 12,010)


Post No. 12,010

Date uploaded in London – –  17 May , 2023                  

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Next to Ganesh Chaturthi Festival and Five Jyotirlinga Shiva Shrines, Maharshtra is famous for the Varkari procession with one million people towards Pandharpur Vitobha Temple. Even those who could not go there listen to Marathi Abhang songs every day. Abhanga (flawless, continuous) is a form of devotional poetry sung in praise of the Hindu god Vitthal, also known as Vithoba.

Part 15

69. Pandharpur Vitobha Temple

PANDHARPUR  is a holy place of god Vitthal and goddess Rukmini. It is also known as the Southern Kashi of India.  It is located at a distance of 72 kms by road. from Solapur District headquarters. The Pandharpur Railway Station falls on the Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur railway line.

The ancient temple of Vitthal was renovated in 1195 A.D. There are many other temples of Indian Deities and Mathas (Dharmshalas) of many Saints. The Chandrabhaga (Bhima) river flows through the City.

The following are the temples inside the main temple as one enters from Namdev Payari and come out of Pachhim Dwar of the temple.

Namdev Payari – In memory of Shri.Sant Namdev, Ganesh Mandir, Datta Mandir,Garud Mandir,Maruti Mandir,Chowrangee Devi Mandir,Garud Khamb,

Narsimha Mandir,Ek-mukh Dattatraya Mandir,Rameshwar Lingam Mandir,

Kala Bahirav Mandir,Laxmi-Narayan Mandir,Kashi-Vishwanath Mandir,Satya-Bhama Mandir,Radhika Mandir,Siddhi-Vinayak Mandir,Mahalakshmi Mandir

Venkateshwar Mandir,Kanhopatra Mandir,Ambabai Mandir,Shani-Dev Mandir,

Nagnath Mandir,Guptaling Mandir,Khandoba Mandir.


The main temple

Vithoba Temple which is the main temple is situated in the central part of the town. The temple has eight entries. The main entrance is the eastern one known as Mahadwar which is also called as Namdev Payari, because one of the steps known as Namdev Payari is built up over the places where the remains of the great saint Namdev are believed to have been burried at his desire.

After Namdev Payari there are three small rooms called Mukti Mandap. After crossing the Mukti Mandap there is a quadrangle of about 120’ x 60’ with wooden pillars, presently called as Vithal Sabha Mandap. After crossing this sabha mandap one enters a hall known as Solkhamb, by reason of the fact that its superstructure rests on 16 pillars. One of the pillar is plated with Gold at the base and silver above it and is known as Garood Khamb. Near solkhamb there is a large stone slab with inscription of 1208 A.D. Close to the Solkhamb mandap, towards the sanctum is a small hall called Chowkhambh as the superstructure rests on four pillars.

From the chowkhambhi hall one is let into the shrine or  Garbhagraha,, a small room about 6’ square consists of a platform of 3’ height with silver canopy above and on this platform stands the idol of Shri. Vithoba which attracts millions every year. The idol is called by different names Vithoba, Pandurang, Pandhari, Vithal, Vithalnath etc. Behind Vithoba temple in the north east corner of the temple, facing east is the temple of Rukmini, the consort of Vithoba. It has a  Garbhagraha,, entry / exit, outer hall and a sabha mandap.


Every devotee not only entere the sanctum irrespective of the dress/caste/creed, but even places his or her head on the feet of the deity actually touching it. And this is a privilege prized and exercised by all devotees. This Padsparshadarshan is unique and not found in most of the Hindu temples elsewhere. For padsparsha Darshan it requires 2 to 3 hours on ordinary days, 4 to 5 hours on weekly holidays and Ekadashi day and upto 24 to 36 hours on Yatra days.

Mookh (mukha) Darshan

For the devotees who cannot spare long hours in queues for Padsparshadarshana one can have the Mookhdarshan. Bhakta or devotee can take darshan of Vitthal from the distance of about 25 metres and of Rukmini, from the distance of about 15 metres. It requires only 15 to 20 minutes for darshan.

The various daily rituals like Kakda Aarati, Mahapooja, Mahanaivedhya, Poshakh, Dhooparati, Padyapooja, Shejarti etc are performed in the main temple of Lord.Vitthal.


Other temples in the town

Padmavati Mandir, Railway Station Road

Lakhubai/Rukmini Mandir, Chinch Baag

Ambabai Mandir, Dagadi Bridge, Solapur Road

Gopalpur, 2 kms. from Pandharpur

Vishnupad , 2 kms. from Pandharpur

Pundalik Mandir, On Chandrabhaga River Bank

Namdev Mandir, Pradakshina Road

Dnyaneshwar Mandir, Naath Chowk

Tukaram Mandir, Pradakshina Road

Kala Maruti Mandir , Pradakshina Road

Tambada Maruti Mandir, Pradakshina Road

Vyas Narayan Mandir, Solapur Road

Yamai Tukai Mandir, Sangola Road

Gajana Maharaj Mandir, Shivaji Chowk

Takpeethya Vithoba, Near Mandi

Ram Baag, Solapur Road

Laxman Baag, Railway Station Road


Places of Importance in Pandharpur

Sant Kaikadi Maharaj Math –

Sant Tanapure Maharaj Math

Gujarathi Devsthan – It is on the other side of the river Bhima. The pilgrims have to cross the river and visit the Shrinathji Temple.

The Palaquins (Palakhi) of various Saints originating from various locations gather at Wakhari, five kms. from Pandharpur for the Waari festival.

About 2 lakh Warkaris marching from pilgrim Alandi of Sant Dnyaneshwara and from Dehu of Sant Tukaram’s pilgrim centers and many other warakaris join this march on their way to this long route of Alandi-Dehu to Pandharpur. In all about 7 – 8 lakh devotees visit Pandharpur for Aashadi Ekadashi.

The procession is called the Wari and the devotees-the Warkaris ( literally ‘those who do the wari’). This 800-year-old tradition is a distinctive part of the Maharashtrian culture and is the ritualistic essence of the Wakari Panth (a sampradaya within the Bhakti tradition).

Four processions take place in the months of Chaitra (March-April), Ashadh (June-July), Kartik (October-November) and Magh (January-February). Of these, the Ashadhi Ekadashi Wari is the most popular.


70.Uttara Chidambaram Nataraja Temple

Kanchi Paramacharya (1894-1994) laid the foundation for a new Shiva temple in Maharashtra.

Uttara Chidambaram Nataraja (Lord Shiva) temple is in Satara (Saataaraa). Satara is a town located in the Satara District of Maharashtra. The town gets its name from the Seven (Sat) Hills(Taras) surrounding it.

Kanchi Shankaracharya (1894-1994)   performed Vyasa-puja at Satara on 27th of July, 1980. During His long camp at Satara,  His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Mahaswami (1894-1994) desired that a temple for Sri Nataraja on the model of the ancient Nataraja temple at Chidambaram should be constructed at Satara. Samanna (late) an ardent devotee of the Acharya and a prominent citizen of Satara gifted away an adequate plot of land for building the temple.

The foundation for the temple was laid on an auspicious day in May 1981. Financial assistance of the then governments of the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and the supply of the entire timber necessary for the construction by the government of Kerala  were received . A  number of philanthropists also helped. A majestic temple of Sri Nataraja with Tamil Nadu style gopurams (towers) over the four gateways, a replica of the original in Tamil Nadu rose up in Satara in the course of about three years.

 Kumbabhishekam (consecration) of the new Uttara (North) Chidambaram temple was performed in the immediate presence of His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swami, in 1984.

Daily worship at the temple, which is being performed by Dikshitas of the Chidambaram temple, going over to Satara by rotation, according to the desire of the Acharya.

To be continued…………………………

Tags- Uttara Chidambaram, Pandharpur, Varkari, Abhang poetry, songs, Vittal, Vitobha, Nataraja temple

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