Pandharpur preserves Lord Vithoba's image in a grand temple. Vithoba is a form of Krishna. The name Vithoba means Father Vitthala. Vitthala is said to have been derived from the word Vishnu in Kannada.
The worship of Vishnu - Vitthala at Pandharpur is derived mainly from the puranas and has been augmented by the contribution of the great Vaishnava saints of Maharashtra from the 13th to 17th centuries (Namdev, Jnaneshwar, Eknath, Tukaram).
The temple with its vast area has a total of six gates. The eastern entrance to this temple is known as the Namdev gate. The sanctum enshrines a standing image of Vithoba also known as Panduranga, Pandhari or Vitthala.
The image dates back to the 5th century. There are inscriptions in this temple dating back to the 13th century. Namdev, the 13th century saint was closely associated with this temple. Copper plate inscriptions of the Rashtrakootas place this shrine in the 6th century. There is also a shrine to Pundalik at Pandharpur.
Gopalpur :- Gopal pur lies 2.5 km soth of pandharpur. Gopalpur temple is on a hill which is also called as Gopalpur hill and is non different from Govardhan hill. Once lord Krishna with his cows came to visit Pandharpur. This past time is commomerated even today at a temple called Vishnupad in Gopalpur, where Lord Krishna’s foot prints are embedded on a stone slab along with the hoof prints of cow and the prints of Krishna’s foot. Local devotees say that this place is Lord Krishna’s eternal place of lunch pastime. Even today this pastime takes place. Narada muni’s small temple demonstrates his everyday’s visit to witness this. At gopalpur River Pushpavati meets Bhima. This Pushpavati river is nondifferent from Yamuna
Lohadanda Tirtha :- This holy place is on the chandrabhaga river in front of pundalik temple..it is said that.stone boat floats on river in this place . story about this holy place is as follows – Lord Indra took the appearance like gautam rishi and violated his wife Ahalya’s chastity. Gautam rishi cursed his wife into a stone and cursed Indra to suffer from disease all over his body. Ahalya became free from curse by the touch of lord Ramchandra’s feet. Indra approached bhagvan Vishnu for help. Bhagvan Vishnu gave a iron rod in the hand of Indra and told him to go for a pilgrimage. Bhagvan Vishnu also blessed him “The holy river in which this rod will float,that will give you relief from this disease . After traveling lots of holy place Indra reached this place. In this place the iron rod floated and Indra took bath here . After taking bath Indra became free from curse and disease. In this way this the place got the name as LOHADANDA TIRTHA
Lord Ram Temple :-This temple is built to remind of Lord Rama’s visit to Pandharpur in his exile while he was searching for mother Sita.
Mallikarjun Temple :- This pastime is even before Lord vitthal came here. Once a great demon of the name dindirav after getting blessings of many gods started troubling all directions. All the gods pleaded to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu appeared as Mallikarjun, the son of king shri Chandra. Shri Chandra performed tapasya to lord shiva wanting to have a son like Lord Vishnu. In answer to his prayers Lord Vishnu came as child Mallikarjun. at the age of 20,Lord came to this forest for hunting and was challenged by demon Dindirav. The fight lasted for thousand years. Lord then took a mace of iron rod (loha danda) and hit demon on head. while dying demon chanted unknowingly “Hari Hari”. Being pleased with him lord asked him to ask for a benediction.
Dindirava demon asked “since I was killed by a iron rod (Loha danda),let this place be called as LOHADANDA TIRTHA and this forest gets my name as DINDIRAVAN.
Taak Pithe Vithoba Temple :- This temple is close to west gate of the main vitthal temple. Long ago one old devoted lady of the name Ramabai used to stay here. She had come here from Paithan on the order of Lord himself. She would everyday serve Lord in the main temple and only eat food which is offered to Lord. On the order of Lord everyday she would bring a special food item “TAAK PITH”-Butter porridge and the Lord would relish it . As years went by Ramabai became old and could not come to temple. So lord himself along with Rukmini devi went and stayed in her house. There lord like a child would demand and relish her TAKH PITH. When Ramabai’s health improved and she was able to go again, the lord decided to return. At this time she requested the Lord to stay permanently in her house. Agreeing with her Lord decided to expand and stay here also . even today during Ashadi Ekadashi when pilgrims can’t take darshan of the main deity they come here knowing well the non difference.
Namdev Payari (Namdev's Steps) :- Saint Namdev prayed to lord Vitthal “ oh lord, I do not want Vaikuntha , but only aspire to get dust from feet of all devotees who visit you. I wish to become the steps on your doorway.” In answer to his prayers lord Vitthal arranged for the ground near the steps to part . saint Namdev with his whole family entered into the ground. This step is even today visible on the main front door of Lord Vitthal’s temple and is called as NAMDEV PAYRI.
Pandharpur is located at 65 km away from Sholapur on the banks of river Bhimarathi. Pandharpur is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites in Maharashtra..
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