Two years ago,when city youth Swapnil More launched a Facebook page dedicated to the palkhi processions,he did not think it will garner around 10,000 visitors in three years. The page is a virtual dindi (procession) called Facebookaranchi Dindi,which gives live updates of the palkhis covering the warkaris on each and every route.
With his laptop and an SLR camera,24-year-old More began walking with the devotees accompanying the Sant Tukaram palkhi from Dehu and reached Pune on Monday afternoon. He will be travelling with the pilgrims up to Pandharpur,where the procession is scheduled to reach on July 18.
I will be clicking at least 200 photos every day and upload selected photos on the page. The palkhi has many interesting cultural and religious elements and is not just a group of people walking together. I cover each and every aspect through photos and videos that are uploaded on the page, says More,adding that he intends to upload 1,000 photos and 100 videos of this years procession.
Working as a social media specialist in a city-based private firm,More has taken 20 days leave to participate in the procession and keep his virtual dindi page alive with latest updates. For the first two years,More could share information related to Sant Tukaram palkhi only,but he managed to rope in his friend Pradnesh Molak this year to walk with the warkaris accompanying the Sant Dnyaneshwar palkhi from Alandi.
The palkhi tradition began in 1685. The route of both Sant Tukaram palkhi and Sant Dnyaneshwar palkhi was same till 1832. On our Facebook page,updates of both the palkhis can be viewed together, he says.
There are many people,especially working professionals,who want to be a part of the dindis but cant because of their work obligations. Such people can update themselves about the palkhi procession by visiting Facebookaranchi Dindi. Interestingly,there are a lot of visitors who are not based in India. More than 7,300 people have confirmed that they are attending the virtual dindi by selecting the option going, says More,adding that another addition this year is the new logo of Facebookaranchi Dindi designed by Akshay Joshi.
The page fulfills another objective,says More. Since maximum Facebook users are youngsters,the page educates them about the tradition,culture and significance of the palkhis, he adds.