At the Vitthal Mandir temple in Wadala, Sunday will be celebrated as a special day. From 6 am on Sunday morning, there will be bhajans at the temple. This ceremony will usher in the celebrations of Ashadhi Ekadashi, that falls on Monday. A day celebrated across Maharashtra, Ashadhi Ekadashi is the festival for one of the principal deities of the state – Lord Vitthal. Lord Vithal is considered to be a form of Lord Vishnu.
The day marks the culmination of the Wari Yatra in Pandharpur, in Solapur district. According to mythology, Lord Vishnu falls asleep on this day. The Yatra is usually taken out by the Warkari sect who consider Lord Vitthal to be their principal deity. In the city, the dabbawalas belong to the Warkari sect, and do not work for two days, beginning on Sunday. Most of them join Dindis (groups of people) who are part of the Yatra.
These groups sing and pray to the deity. Devotees mark Ekadashi by fasting. In Wadala, where there is a big Vitthal temple, devotees take out Yatras. In places like the Vitthal Mandir in Dahisar, devotees also take out a Yatra with palanquins, similar to those taken out by Warkaris in Pandharpur. Some of them carry images of the deity and those of the saints of Maharashtra.
“Some of them come to our temple in Dindis and sit for bhajans. Those who are frequently seen singing bhajans in trains also come and sit for two hours,” said Mohandas Mallya, president of Shri Vitthal Rakhumai Mandir, Dahisar. Around 25,000 people are expected to visit the temple that day.
The temple has raised money, and will be opening a charity hospital nearby.
“We have purchased land but have not decided on a date for opening the hospital. But we will be opening one soon,” said Mallya.
Vitthal Mandirs also give prasad all through the day to devotees.