Pandurangar ( Lord Krishna) is the main deity of Pandarpur . He is also known as Vithalla or Vithoba and his consort as Rukmani .
Pandarpur is on the banks of chandrabagha river in Sholapur district of Maharashtra .
The uniqueness of this temple is one could touch the Lord Pandurangars feet and its known as padha sparsha dharshan .
Ashada and karthiga ekadesi and during Jenmastami rituals are done in a grandeur manner and lakhs of devotees come to get the blessings of Lord Pandurangar .
Here the Lord Pandurangar stands with his hands on his hip enjoying the bhajans of his devotees .
Here the lord is swayambu and there is a story behind it . Once Pundalik on his way to kashi asks Kukkut maharishi to guide him Kukkut Maharishi says he has not been to Kashi so he could not help him hearing this Pundalik teases him “being such wise and old you dint visit Kashi yet” Kukkut Maharishi did not react . Pundalik sleeps that night in Kukkut Maharishis ashram and next day morning he sees 3 women cleaning the ashram , when he finds the 3 women are the 3 rivers Ganga , Yamuna and Saraswathi , he asks them why you come to cleanse the ashram as this wise man has not yet been to kashi . The 3 rivers replied piousness spirituality and devotion does not depend on costly rituals but depends on performing ones Karma (fulfilling ones duties and responsibilities) correctly . Pundalik realizes his mistakes , he has left his elderly parents at home and was on the way to Kashi to attain moksha . He returns back and serves his parents with much devotion . Lord Pandurangar wanted to test him . So one day he visits Pundalik house and calls him Pundalik throws a stone and ask the Lord to stand on that ( he did not know its the Lord Pandurangar himself has come to see him) as he was feeding his parents . In the service to his parents Pundalik forgets thoroughly he has asked to wait , when he remembers he sees Pandurangar himself standing on the stone he asks for forgiveness. Lord Pandurangar pleased by his devotion towards his parents gives a boon . Pundalik asks Lord to stay there itself and bless all those come to see him .
There is a mandir of Pundalik too in Pandarpur .
Vishnupad is a temple on the banks of Chandrabagha river just 5kms from Lord Pandurangar temple . It’s a open massive hall with 16 pillars . Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu in different postures are being carved on the pillars .
Sakkubai mandir is in Gopalpur 2 kms from Pandarpur . Sakkubai was a holy woman who worshiped Lord Krishna of Pandharapur. She was ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. She was married to a cruel family , where everyone ill treated her . But she was stuck to her homely duties and was finding happiness only in worshiping the Lord. One day , she plans to visit Pandarapur, but her in-laws ties her to a pillar. Lord krishna comes in the form of a woman , and releases her. He lets her go to Pandarapur and takes the form of Sakkubai and stays at home. Sakkubai visits Pandarapur and immediately after the darshan , she dies and gets released from the bonds of life . One of her neighbour seeing her dead does her cremation there . Meanwhile the Lord Pandurangar at Sakkubhai home does all the household works . The neighbour comes from Pandarpur seeing Sakkubai says she’s a devil as he only did her final rituals after her death . Meanwhile Rukmini, the consort of Krishna, re-creates Sakkubai, with her yogic power, and this Sakkubai gets Immortalized , blessed by Lord . The whole family then realizes that the Lord himself was in the place of Sakkubai and asks for forgiveness and becomes Lord Pandurangar’s devotees . The household of Sakkubai and chakli she used for grinding are still kept in the temple .
The museum here is little fascinating , once entered till the exit is like a maze going 4 steps up and 4 step down so those who enters take a water bottle so that you are not exhausted before you finish as you can’t come away half way back . Beautiful and colorful idols of Gods will take 2 hours to finish .
Namdev was an ardent devotee of Lord Pandurangar . One day his mother asks him to complete the ritual of “neivedya” (any food made in the house is first offered to God, the ritual of placing the offering plate before the deity and sprinkling water and flowers around the plate and with a prayer to God). Namdev faithfully does “naivedya” and waits for God to appear and take the offerings . But he is disheartened. He keeps praying and requests God to come in person and accept the offering. With no answer , the child starts banging his head at the feet of God. Seeing this utmost devotion and innocence of the child , God appears eats the offering and blesses Namdev. Namdev asks for being present in the “first step” at His temple, so that his innumerable devotees will touch him before having the “darshan” (view). Thats why first step of Vittal Rukmini temple is called “Namdevachi Payari” and one of the entrance to Vittal Mandir is also dedicated to Namdev’s name .