Devotees pour in to temple town Pandharpur

Solapur: More than eight lakh devotees on Monday reached the temple town of Pandharpur in the district, to witness the 'maha-puja' of Lord Vitthal and his consort Rukhmini, on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.

It marks the culmination of pilgrimage, called 'waari', that devotees undertake from across the state on foot to reach here.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and his wife Satyashila performed the maha-puja, as is the custom.

Alongwith them, Ganesh Sakharam Doke (65) and his wife Rukmni (58), a farmer couple from Buldhana district, too took part in the puja, as representatives of ordinary pilgrims.

AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh was also present on the occasion.

"In our family, we have been walking long distance on foot annually to reach the feet of the Lord for the last three generations," Doke said.

The Chief Minister told the reporters afterwards that he "prayed for good rains across the state for farmers' prosperity, and state's development on all fronts".

State ministers Jayant Patil, Harshvardhan Patil and district guardian minister Laxmanrao Dhobale too were present.

Chavan also handed over a cheque of Rs one crore to the Pandharpur municipal council on this occasion.

Security around the temple and in the town was tight.