Vitthal Rukmini Mandir, Wakad

 

Lord Vitthal also famously known as Vithoba, Panduranga and Vitthala, is a revered deity standing atop a brick, and worshipped predominantly in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.  


    Vithoba is usually depicted with his main consort, Rakhumai, on his left side. Rakhumai (or Rakhamai) literally means 'mother Rukmini'. Rukmini is traditionally viewed as the wife of Krishna.


    Hindus generally consider Krishna to be a form of Vishnu, hence his consort as a form of Lakshmi. Rakhumai is depicted in the arms-akimbo posture, standing on a brick. She has an independent cella in the Pandharpur temple complex. Vithoba’s abode is situated at Pandharpur in Maharashtra, close to the Karnataka border.

    The legendary tale revolves around his ardent devotee Pundalik, who has known to have brought the deity to Pandharpur.  Pundalik is commonly perceived to be a historical figure, connected with the establishment and propagation of the Vithoba-centric Varkari sect. Numerous hymns and religious compositions have been dedicated to this deity that is associated with the ritual of offering light.  The most important festivals of Vithoba are held on the eleventh (ekadashi) day of Hindu lunar months: Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha, and Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.

    Primarily, there are three Hindu deities associated with Vithoba: Vishnu, Krishna and Shiva. Gautama Buddha is also associated with Vithoba, consistent with Hindu deification of the Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. However, Varkari consider Vithoba to be the svarup (original) Vishnu himself, not an Avatar (manifestation) of Vishnu like Krishna, despite legends and consorts linking Vithoba to Krishna. In some traditions though, Vithoba is also worshipped as a form of Shiva.