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Pandharpur Yatra 2023

The first time I visited Pandharpur was back in 2007 . The names Vitthal and Pandharpur, were just names to me. I had heard of them, but that was about it. Seeing the lord standing on the brick, hands on his hips, was memorable, but more memorable was the sight that greeted us as we walked out of the main sanctum of the temple. In the mandap just outside were a group of devotees singing abhangs , and dancing. This was the first time I had heard abhangs , and even almost 15 years later, I can remember the welling of feeling within me, listening to the songs, and how fascinated I was by the sight of the devotees dancing, lost in their love of the Lord. Over the years, as I have read more about Vitthal, and participated in Ashadi Ekadashi programmes at Puttaparthi, that first experience has stayed clear in my mind and heart. Every time I tell my Balvikas students of the saints who sang of Vitthala, it is that experience that I re-live. I visited Pandharpur again, in 2010, but that experie


If you ever go to the Gateway of India, you cant miss these guys.... they are everywhere!!

They roam around with a camera in hand, clicking photos of the multitudes of tourists.  They have been around for what seems forever!!! I remember a time when they used to work as a group - one clicking photos while the smaller boys ran to get the photos developed. The customer was asked to come back in an hour, and the photo would be ready. There was also a phase when the Polaroid was all the rage! Instant photos!! Customers lined up just for the thrill of seeing the developed image emerge from the camera!! Digital cameras and photo printers have made life easier for them. They simply take a pic, print it, and hand it over to you within a few minutes, and go on their way, looking for their next customer.

These guys are great at spotting prospective customers. I have never been accosted by them when I have been there alone..... but every time I go with Samhith, they are right there, promising the best photograph!! And they can get really pesky when we are there with the full family!!  This time, I was at the Gateway with my cousins and Samhith, and one of the chaps approached us. And then he spotted the DSLR hanging from my cousin's neck, and the high zoom camera hanging from mine, and turned away, but not before giving me a big smile!! 


  1. Well said Anu. In Mussoorie one of them told me, I will click your's from your SLR only. I just smiled and moved ahead!

    1. true Mridula, these guys are everywhere!! and most people do enjoy having their photo taken, so they manage to make a living too, i guess!! there are few of us completely uninterested in our own pics!

  2. I loved that last line!!! Could picture the scene so vividly!!!!


  3. How about offering them back to click their photo?

    1. Hmm yes, Shrinidhi,good idea, should do that sometime....

  4. It isnt easy to get away from them. :)

    1. absolutely!!! they can stick like leeches at times... which is why people like her are a refreshing sight!


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