Thursday, 16 July 2015


 - Padyatra of the Warkaris

“I do not need to visit other sites of pilgrimage when my whole family has the tradition of going to Pandharpur”. This translated dictum of Sant Tukaram, affirms the divine bliss of the age old tradition of Maharashtra which is famously known as the ‘WARI’. 

Every on the year eleventh day of the bright moon in the month of Aashaadh, an ocean of devotees leave behind their luxuries, walk through highs and lows only to catch a glimpse of their Lord Vitthal. The palakhi of Shri Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj & Shri Sant Tukaram Maharaj starts from Alandi & Dehu respectively with much zeal and gusto. The Palakhis then proceed to Pandharpur, the home of Vithoba – Rakhumai. The Wari tradition has been unbroken and followed with utmost faith for the past 800 years. This year too, the Palakhis started their 23 day journey to mauli’s abode via Pune which had the warkaris walking , dancing and singing abhangs  in the holy name of Lord Vitthal. This long journey that the warkar is travel barefoot is called “wari”. This grand procession was welcomed by Punekars’ on 10th July 2015.
Keeping up with its tradition since the last few years, this year too,from 10th July to 12th July 2015, Symbiosis Centre of Health Care (SCHC) and Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences (SIHS) in association with Mrs. Sheela Salve Memorial Trust, arranged four mobile medical units to offer free medical services by emergency medical practitioners for warkaris. Whilst the MBA students of Hospital & Health care Management, SIHS looked after the overall logistics & management of the event.

The Inaugural ceremony was organized at Vishwabhavan, Symbiosis. Mr. Sharad Ranpise, MLA, inaugurated the medical services by Symbiosis for the warkaris and delivered an inaugural speech. This was followed by an address by Mr. Sumeet Sharma, Divisional Railway Manager, Pune. Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, President  & Founder, Symbiosis elaborated on the Symbiosis initiative in the Community Outreach Program. Mrs. S. S. Mujumdar Hon. Director, AMM Symbiosis; Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis; Dr. Rajiv Yeravdekar, Dean, Faculty of Health & Biomedical Sciences, Symbiosis and Mr. Avinash Salve, Ex- Corporator PMC and many dignitaries attended & expressed their opinion on this noble initiative spearheaded by Symbiosis & Sheela Salve Memorial Trust.
This was followed by the departure of the mobile medical units for the wari from Symbiosis campus to specified locations.
Our Ambulance No.1, with all necessary medical aid kits and drug supply which included analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-diarrheal, supply of ORS, Sprain relief sprays, balms, anti histamines and antibiotics, was stationed at Vishrant Wadi on the 1st day of this medical services inititative.  The moment we reached our destination, we were awestruck at the sea of warkaris, embarking on their three-week long pilgrimage to Pandharpur that would continue till Ashadhie

The sight was just overwhelming. Divided into several “dindis” (groups), some carried idols of Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram on their heads, while a few others carried “tulsi” pots. Several warkaris swayed holding saffron flags. The old, the infirm, men and women walked hand in hand to honour their commitment to the tradition of “wari.” Seeing the sea of people before us, our minds were filled of anxiety, excitement, certain apprehensions since we all had never worked in such a big event before.
·         The first group brought the ever increasing crowd under control.
·        The second group created the log of all the patients getting treated
·         The third group helped the EMS students by giving them medicines from the ambulance
·        The fourth group organised medicines and looked after the food and water requirements of Symbiosis students.
There were three rows of the pilgrims so as to ensure fast treatment. Most of the pilgrims complained about Joint pains, eye, nausea and vomiting, small wounds, general weakness. They were provided with analgesics, anti inflammatory agents, antiemetic, and oral rehydration therapy. Patients who had wounds inflicted due to walking continuously were provided with dressing facility. Complaints for loose motion and cold and fever were also treated. . The medical staff left no stone unturned in providing the best possible care.  From this year, Symbians also began maintaining e-records of the warkaris who were served. This novel technique of accurate and organized data management was looked after by the MBA students.

Also, we encountered an emergency case when a warkari collapsed to the ground owing to an epileptic attack. Thanks to the prompt medical attention extended by the symbians, a fatality was averted.
In between our work we also found got time to interact with the warkaris, they shared their experience till now and we took photographs with them too.
Language barrier was overcome by crude but highly effective sign language with the incorporation of a few marathi words. Many non Marathi students found a unique opportunity to learn a few Marathi words. After the initial chaos things eventually settled and progressed smoothly. Everybody got acquainted and comfortable with their roles. The day ended at 5pm and we had successfully provided medical aid to 2240 patients on day one.

After packing up some MBA students  walked along with the warkaris all the way back to SIHS. They walked the 9-10 kilometres dancing, enjoying and being part of this devotional journey.


We were touched by the devotion of the warkaris, who paying no heed to the scorching heat and heavy rains, continued walking, dancing and chanting abhangs during  their sojourn in Pune. Taking pains in a stride, submitting themselves to vitthal bhakti, the determination and dedication of the warkaris was indeed a learning experience.

MBA HHM 15-17 

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