Aashadi Ekadashi is an important Hindu festival that falls on the eleventh day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Aashadha (June-July). It is also known as Devshayani Ekadashi or Shayani Ekadashi. The festival holds great significance, particularly in the state of Maharashtra in India. According to Hindu mythology, on Aashadi Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and protector of the universe, goes into a deep slumber, known as the “Chaturmas” period. It is believed that Lord Vishnu rests on the cosmic serpent Adi Shesha in the Ksheer Sagar, the ocean of milk, during this time.Devotees observe this day by fasting and offering prayers to Lord Vishnu. They believe that by doing so, they can obtain his blessings and seek his divine protection.In Maharashtra, the festival of Aashadi Ekadashi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion. It marks the beginning of the Wari pilgrimage, a tradition where devotees undertake a pilgrimage to the town of Pandharpur, the abode of Lord Vithoba (a manifestation of Lord Vishnu). The Wari pilgrimage attracts millions of devotees from all over Maharashtra and beyond.The devotees, known as Warkaris, embark on a journey of around 250 kilometers, often by foot, singing devotional songs and chanting the name of Lord Vithoba. They carry palkhis (palanquins) adorned with the images of saints like Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram, who were ardent devotees of Lord Vithoba. The procession of Warkaris is a sight to behold, with colorful attire, musical instruments, and a spirit of devotion and unity.Upon reaching Pandharpur, the Warkaris offer prayers and seek the darshan (sight) of Lord Vithoba. The atmosphere is filled with fervor, joy, and spiritual energy. The festival extends for several days, with various cultural programs, religious discourses, and celebrations taking place.Aashadi Ekadashi and the Wari pilgrimage hold immense cultural and religious significance in Maharashtra. They serve as a reminder of the devotion and surrender of the devotees to Lord Vishnu and promote unity, spirituality, and the pursuit of inner transformation.Please note that different regions may have variations in the way Aashadi Ekadashi is celebrated, but the core significance remains the same.

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