PANDARPUR / PANDARIPURAM
Three most ugly women entering the ashram of the sage Kukkudar get transformed into beautiful apsaras over night. This surprises the young man Pundalik and on inquiry, he comes to know that the three apsaras are the sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi who acquire ugliness due to washing away of sins by numerous people who take bath in these rivers daily to get rid of their sins. The rivers get their beautiful forms back by offering puja and service to the sage Kukkudar which speaks of his extraordinary powers.
Pundarikan finds out the reason behind the powers of the sage and comes to know that it is due to the devotion of the sage to his parents. This opens up the mindset of Pundarikan who realizes his folly and he too starts worshipping his parents faithfully.
The Lord Pandurangan then tests the truthfulness of Pundrikan towards his parents and one day the Lord calls on him while he is attending to his parents. Pundarikan comes out only after he finished his service to his parents, keeping the Lord waiting on a brick at the entrance of his house. This is how Pandurangan gets the name Vittobha – Vitt meaning a brick in Marathi. The Lord then bestows his grace on Pudnarikan and his parents.
Pandarpur or Pandaripuram is on the banks of the river Chandrabaga in Maharashtra and is at a distance of 75 km from Sholapur. The heart of Pandarpur is this ancient temple which is visited by thousand of devotees every day. The queue for darshan starts right from the river bed which is about 500 meters away and passes thro’ a foot bridge and a multi-storied queue complex before it reaches the temple. There is also another entrance for this temple for ‘Mukha seva’ a fast one by which one can have a quick darshan of the Lord at a distance of some 20 feet. Closed circuit TVs are installed to capture the pujas offered to the deities.
Thayar’s name is Rughumayee or Rukumanibhai. There are separate sanathis for the Lord and his consort and they are seen in standing position with hands on their hips, which posture is like, they are enjoying the bhajans of the devotees.
Ferry boats are available at Chandrabaga river for taking the devotees across the river for bathing in clean waters. A bath in the holy Chandrabagha river is rejuvenating and refreshing. Pandarpur still retains horse drawn coaches of yester years and auto rickshaws are also available.
There is a temple for Chukkubai ,which is at a distance of some 4 km form the main temple.
Pandaripuram Pandurangan temple preaches the importance of parents, the foremost among the conducts to be adopted by each and every citizen of this land, namely patronizing one’s parents in their old age. If every one starts following the path of the Lord Pandurangan, where is the need for the old age homes that desert the feelings of the aged?
Jai Jai Vittala, Panduranga Vittala