Its that time of the year when city roads get choc-a-block with warkaris,devotees of Marathi poet-saints Sant Tukaram and Sant Dyaneshwar. They take out the palkhis of Sant Dnyaneshwar from Alandi and Sant Tukaram from Dehu,an age-old tradition in Maharashtra during Ashadh month in June-July.
It’s also the time of the year when musical instruments are bought and fine-tuned. The warkaris carrying musical instruments,and with faith in their hearts,and devotional chants on their lips,take around 22 days to walk from Alandi and Dehu to Pandharpur in groups.
Music marts in the city are flooded with orders,primarily for pakhawaj and veena.
At Ganpat Bhikoba Kendurkar,a 130-year-old shop on Shukrawar Peth,people start flocking the shop to buy the pakhawaj and veena a week in advance,and repair orders come mostly on the day the Palkhi reaches Pune.
During the festival,on an average,around 35 pakhawajs at Rs 3,000 each and five veenas at Rs 3,500 per piece are sold at the shop every day. Repair works come with a tight deadline. Since pilgrims halt in the city only for half a day or so,we have to finish work within the stipulated time. All members in the family work late into the night, says Atul Raghunath Kendurkar,adding that it takes eight to 10 hours to repair a pakhawaj and around two hours to repair a veena. Jeevan Vasantrao Kakade,who runs a music instruments shop near Mangaldas Road,says that betweeen four workers at his shop,they manage repair work of around 10 pakhawajs a day. The repair work of the percussion instrument,such as pakhawaj,varies. For instance,most warkaris come to get ink replaced on the bass-skin and treble-skin. Sometimes,the rope,an important part of the instrument,needs to be replaced, he says. The rate for repair ranges between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000.
Vijay Naik,owner of Naik Musicals,says though their shop gets orders,a decade ago,the numbers were higher. We used to repair 150 pakhawajs a day during palkhi till around 10 years back but now it has come down to 15. All this mainly because several music shops have opened in Alandi and Dehu, says Naik.
The shop was opened 40 years ago and named Yashwant Gulabrao Naik Tablewale,which was changed to Naik Musicals around 10 years back. The repair work for veena,he says isnt too much because it is a string instrument and doesnt take much time to repair it. Many devotees simply buy the strings and repair the instrument on their own, he adds.