It is said that the devotee Pundalik
founded Pandharpur. His father Janudeva and mother Satyavati lived in a thick forest
Pundalik was a devoted son but soon after his
marriage he began to ill-treat his parents. To escape from this misery, the parents
decided to go on a pilgrimage to Kashi. When Pundalik's wife learnt about this, she also
decided to go. She and her husband joined the same group of pilgrims on horseback. While
the son and his wife rode on horseback, the old couple walked. Every evening when the
party camped for the night, the son forced his parents to groom the horses and do other
jobs. The poor parents cursed the day they decided to go on a pilgrimage.
Soon the party reached the ashrama of the great sage Kukkutswami. There they decided to
spend a couple of nights. They were all tired and soon fell asleep-except Pundalik who
could not sleep. Just before daybreak he saw a group of beautiful, young women, dressed in
dirty clothes, enter the ashrama, clean the floor, fetch water and wash the swami's
clothes. Then they entered the inner room of the ashrama, and came out in beautifully
clean clothes and passing near Pundalik, they vanished.
Next night he saw the same sight again. Pundalik
threw himself at their feet and begged them to tell who they were. They said they were
Ganga, Yamuna and other holy rivers of India in which the Pilgrims bathed and washed off
sins. Their clothes became dirty by the sins of the bathing pilgrims.
"And because of your ill-treatment of your parents," they said, "You are
the greatest sinner."
This brought about a complete change in him and he became the most devoted son. Now the
parents' rode the horses while the son and his wife walked by their side. By their love
and affection, the son and his wife urged the parents to give up the pilgrimage and return
One day it so happened that Lord Krishna, the King of
Dwarka, while feeling lonely, was reminded of his early days in Mathura. He particularly
remembered his sports with the milkmaids, the cowherd boys, and his love, Radha. Though
she was dead, he longed to see her again. By his divine powers he brought her back to life
and seated her by his side. Just then his queen, Rukmini, entered the room. When Radha did
not rise to pay her respect, Rukmini left Dwarka in anger and hid herself in Dandirvan
forest. After some days, Lord Krishna set off in search of Rukmini. He first went to
Mathura, then to Gokul. He met the milkmaids and cowherd boys. They too joined in the
search. They went to Mount Govardhan in her search.
At last they reached the banks of the river Bhima in the Deccan. Krishna left his
companions at Goplapura, and he himself entered Dandirvan forest alone in search of her.
At last he found her and managed to calm her. Krishna and Rukmini came to Pundalik's
But at that time Pundalik was busy attending
to his parents. Though he knew Lord Krishna had come to see him, he refused to pay his
respect to the god before his duty towards his parents was done. He, however, threw a
brick outside for lord Krishna to stand upon. Impressed by Pundalik's devotion to his
parents, Lord Krishna did not mind the delay. Standing on the brick he waited for
Pundalik. When Pundalik came out and begged God's pardon, Lord Krishna replied that far
from being displeased, he was pleased with his love for his parents. Lord Krishna then
ordered him to worship Vithoba, or God who stood upon a brick.
An imposing temple was built at the place where
Krishna and Pundalik had met. Inside the temple stands Krishna's image on a brick. By his
side stands the image of Rukmini.This temple covering a vast area has a total of six
The eastern entrance to this
temple is known as the Namdev gate (after the great 13th century
Vaishnava saint). The sanctum enshrines the standing image of Vithoba also known as
Panduranga, Pandhari or Vitthala. Stylistically the image dates back to the 5th
century. There are inscriptions in this temple dating back to the 13th century
which place origin of this shrine to the 6th century.
The city is located
on the banks of Bhima river in Solapur district, Maharashtra