Pandharpur also known as Bhu-vaikuntha' or Paradise on Earth
is the spiritual capital of Maharashtra, situated on
the banks of the river Bhimarathi also known Chandrabhaga. It is located
65-km west of Solapur (Sholapur).
Pandharpur houses a shrine of Vithoba, on the banks of the river Bhimarathi. Vithoba is a form of Krishna. The name Vithoba means Father Vitthala. The term Vitthala, is said to have been derived from the word Vishnu in Kannada. It was previously called, as Pandarga, a Sanskritized form of Pandharpur.
There is a shrine dedicated to saint called Pundalik, and hence this place is also known as Pundarika Pura.
According to the legend it is believed that this incarnation of Lord Krishna appeared before the people of Pandharpur at the request of a great devotee named Pundalika. Lord was asked to wait on a brick as Pundalika was serving his parents. Hence, the name Vithala, which means, 'one who stands on a brick'.
This temple covers a vast area and has a total of six gates. The entrance on the eastern side of the temple is known as the Namdev gate. The sanctum enshrines a standing image of Vithoba also known as Panduranga, Pandhari or Vitthala. There are inscriptions in this temple dating back to the 13th century.
It is believed that the deity is 5,000 years old and the image of the lord stands on a brick, which dates back to the 5th century.
During the festive months of July, October and November people from all over Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and other states gather at famous temple of Lord Vithal at Pandharpur.
There are also many other temples, which are worth visiting such as The Laxmi Temple, Vishnupad Temple, Trimbhakeshwar Temple, Shri Ram Temple. Tuljapur is located close to Pandharpur, which houses a shrine of Tulja Bhavani (Goddess Durga) that is very famous among Maharashtrains. The great Maratha ruler always took her blessings for his success in military expeditions.
Air: The nearest airport is
Rail: Pandharapur is a station on the Kurduwadi-Miraj line of South Central Railway. But the convenient way is to get down at Sholapur railway station, 74-km away.
Road: State transport buses ply from Pune, Sholapur ,Nanded ,Satara ,Ahmednagar to Pandharpur.
MTDC cottages are available for accommodation as also many private hotels.