Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday performed the "mahapuja" of Lord Vitthaland Goddess Rukminiin the temple town of Pandharpur on the occasion of `Ashadhi Ekadashi'.
Vithal Chavan and his wife Prayag were the 'warkaris' (pilgrims) who got the opportunity to perform the rituals alongside the chief minister and his wife Amruta.
The rituals at the Lord Vitthal temple in Pandharpur in Solapur district, around 350km from here, began past Thursday midnight at around 2.30 am.
Speaking after the puja, which Fadnavis skipped last year, the chief minister said he had prayed for peace and prosperity of the state and its people.
"I prayed to Vithoba (another name for Lord Vitthal) for giving his blessings to the government's efforts to make the state drought free," he said.
Recalling that he wasn't able to participate in the annual puja last year, Fadnavis said, "The Lord resides in the hearts and homes of people outside Pandharpur too."
Its customary for the sitting chief minister of the state to perform the traditional puja every year.
Last year, Fadnavis performed the puja at his official residence `Varsha' in south Mumbai after Maratha groups, agitating for quota for the community in jobs and education, threatened to disrupt the religious event in Pandharpur.
In late 2018, the BJP-led government enacted the quota law for Marathas and the Bombay High Court last month upheld the constitutional validity of the legislation.
Talking to reporters later, Fadnavis said he had prayed for good rains in the state.
Asked if he would come to Pandharpur again for the puja next year, he said, "The people of the state and Lord Vitthal had blessed us last time (in the 2014 polls) and would do the same this year too."
Maharashtra assembly elections are due in October.
Ashadhi Ekadashi is a day that marks the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur by 'warkaris'.
Decorated palanquins with 'padukas' (footprints) of various saints, especially SantTukaramand Sant Dnyaneshwar, are carried by devotees from their respective shrines in the state on their way to Pandharpur.
Devotees set out for Pandharpur on foot singing glories of Lord Vithoba and songs like "GyanbaTukaram".
The 21-day journey or "wari" culminates at the Lord Vitthal temple in Pandharpur which is situated on the banks of river Chandrabhaga.