Monday, November 8, 2010

Vithoba Temple Pandharpur Aarti Puja Timings and How To Reach

Pandharpur is considered to be the spriritual capital of Maharashtra due to its atmosphere of reverence created by the presence of the Vithoba Temple. The holy town of Pandharpur is located along the Chandrabhaga river in Solapur District. It is also known as the Kuldaivat of Maharashtra and as the Southern Kashi of India.

As per historical records, the Pandharpur temple complex has been renovated a number of times. As per these records, one of the royal rulers of the Shaliwahana Dynastry renovated Pandharpur in 83 A.D. The tradition of the paduka procession (pilgrims walking barefoot) with palanquins of the idols is said to have begun in 1296 A.D.

Lord Vithoba Legends

Vithoba is considered to be a manifestation of Lord Vishnu by the Vishnuvites; a manifestation of Surya by devotees who worship the Sun; a manifestation of Avalokiteshwara by Buddhist devotees; and a manifestation of Neminath by the Jain community followers. The word Vitthala is said to be derived from the Marathi word vittu, meaning brick. As the legend goes, a devotee by the name of Pundalik was engaged in serving his parents when Lord Vishnu visited his home. Pundalik was annoyed at being disturbed, and is said to have picked up a brick and thrown it outside for Lord Vishnu to stand on and wait. Rather than getting angry, Lord Vishnu was happy to see Pundalik’s caring and devotion towards his parents. Hence, Lord Vishnu granted Pundalik a boon, on which Pundalik requested the Lord for his eternal presence. It was thus that Lord Vishnu took up permanent residence at Pandharpur. Even today, the idol of Lord Vithoba is always shown as standing on a brick.

Vithoba Temple Pandharpur Maharashtra

The Shri Vitthal Mandir, known simply as Vithoba Temple, is located on a small hill and enclosed by high stone walls. The temple’s architecture comprises of low domes and high pinnacles. The temple has 8 gates: 1 on the south side; 1 on the west side; 3 on the north side; and 3 on the east side. The Mahadwar (main gate) of the temple is on the eastern side. It is here that the Namdeo chi Payari (step named after Namdeo) is located. One the way up, you will see a small idol of Lord Ganesha in one of the niches of the side wall. The first step of the flight of 11 steps is called Namdeo chi Payari in reference to a devotee named Namdeo. As the story goes, the child Namdeo once made holy offerings to God and pleaded with God to come in person to accept the offerings. When, after even a long time, God did not make an appearance, Namdeo kept banging his head at God’s feet. God subsequently appeared and ate the offerings, blessing Namdeo and granting him a boon. Namdeo requested that he should always be present in the very first step of the temple, so that when devotees came to seek God’s darshan, Namdeo, in the first step, would also be blessed with the touch of the devotees’ feet.

The temple complex houses the Mandap where the shrines of Garuda and Hanuman are located. Here there are also 2 tall Deepmalas, each rising to about 10meters. One of the interesting features is the Sola-Khambi, which rests on 16 stone pillars, one of which is called the Garud Khamb – this is covered with silver sheets and has a gold base. Access to the Sola-Khambi is from the Sabhamandapa. On the northern side are individual rooms, each dedicated to various idols and mythological legendary personalities, such as Dattatreya, Ram-Laxman, Kalbhairav, etc.[reference: Temples of Maharashtra by Gopal Krishna Kanhere]

You must also take note of the lovely entrance leading to the Chou-Khambi (four pillared structure) and the silver arch which leads to the main Vitthal shrine. From the chowkhambhi hall one is let into the shrine or Gabhara, a small room having a platform of 3 ft. height with a silver canopy above. On this platform stands the idol of Shri Vithoba which attracts millions of devotees every year. The idol is called by different names: Vithoba, Pandurang, Pandhari, Vithal, or Vithalnath.

Other temples within the Pandharpur temple complex include the temple of Rukmini (consort of Vithoba) which is behind the Vithoba temple in the north east corner of the temple, facing east. It has a Gabhara, entry / exit, outer hall and a sabha mandap.

You can also visit the Samadhi Shikara of Pundalik, said to be the most faithful devotee of Lord Vitthal.

Vithoba Temple Complex Tourist Attractions
- Namdev Payari
- 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

Vithoba Temple Aarti Puja Timings

1.  Vithoba Temple Door Opening Time: 4.00 a.m.
2.  Vithoba Temple Kakada Aarti: 4.30a.m.  to 05.00 a.m.
3.  Vithoba Temple Nitya Puja (regular Puja): 5.00 a.m to 06.00.a.m.
4.  Vithoba Temple Mahapuja by devotees: 7.00 a.m. to 08.00.a.m.
5.  Vithoba Temple Maha Naivedya: 11.00 a.m. to 11.15 a.m.
6.  Vithoba Temple Pshakh (dressing): 4.30p.m. to 05.00 p.m.
7.  Vithoba Temple Dhoop Aarati:7.00p.m. to 07.30 p.m.
8.  Vithoba Temple Padya pooja: 10.00p.m. to 10.30 p.m.
9.  Vithoba Temple Shejarati: 11.00 p.m.
How to Reach Pandharpur
* How to Reach Vithoba Temple Pandharpur By Air: the nearest airport is Pune (204kms). Taxi cabs are available from Pune to Pandharpur (approx. fare is Rs 2500/-).

* How to Reach Vithoba Temple Pandharpur By Train: The Pandharpur Railway Station falls on the Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur railway track.

* How to Reach Vithoba Temple Pandharpur By Bus: You can board State Transport public buses from Pune and Solapur.

* How to Reach Vithoba Temple Pandharpur By Taxi: Taxis are available on hire from Solapur to Pandharpur. Taxi fare is approx. Rs 1,000/-.

* How to Reach Vithoba Temple Pandharpur By Car: Best road route is the Pune-Pandharpur Road Route:
Pune - Hadpsar - Indapur - here, take a right turn to Akluj - Pandharpur

Detailed Map of National Highway Road Routes to Vithoba Temple Pandharpur

Where to stay in Pandharpur

Accommodations in Pandharpur are not heavy on your wallet, but you will have to hunt around for clean accommodations. You can stay at the MTDC lodgings (minimum 2 people are allowed; a single individual is unlikely to get a room). MTDC Pandharpur Phone Number: 02186-224527, 223312. Alternatively, you can stay at one of the many maths in the town, such as Gajanan Math, Pandharpur (tariff is only Rs.150/-) as recommended in a review (see link at end of this blog post). Ideally, you should stay in comfortable lodgings at Pune and hire a private vehicle or taxi to take you to Pandharpur.

Pandharpur General Tourist Information and Tourist Tips
* Pincode: 413304

* STD code: 021862

* Mobile phones, cameras and handbags (not even a lady's handbag) are not allowed inside the temple. You will have to leave all these possessions at the counter.
* The priests will charge you a large amount (Rs.2000/- +) if you wish to avoid the queue and take a quick darshan!! In fact, most of the priests are simply out to make money. You literally have to bribe them to get darshan and they also insist on taking money for a giving you coconuts and prasad. It is also very difficult to get any Special VIP darshan pass without giving a bribe.

* Avoid so-called helpful people who will tell you where to get darshan passes, where to park, which places to visit in town, etc. They are just touts out to make money.

* If you wish to avoid the serpentine queues, you can have a Mukh Darshan where you can have the darshan of Lord Vithoba from a distance of 20 feet. 

* The public toilet near the temple is said to by unhygienic. Avoid.

If are visiting Vithoba Temple Pandharpur, please do leave your comments and Pandharpur travellers tips below. It would greatly help others. Thanks!


  1. Its very amazing post about vithoba temple pandharpur!!

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  4. Thank you for the wonderful blog .it was a good guide. Very sad part is that in Sakubai/Gopslpur temple the priests are squeezing the devotees from other states. What we give as donation they are not accepting. They demand which is really saddening part of our trip