Complexity in Time:

Pilgrimages involve vast numbers of people walking across the surface of the earth in parallel to the movement of objects in the heavens. The timing of most pilgrimage festivals are established by a calendar built upon the movement of the sun and the phases of the moon.


The catchment area of the pilgrimage to Pandharpur includes 28 routes of palkhis (palanquins in which the silver replicas of feet of saints are carried). Some 100,000 pilgrims walk along these routes to Pandharpur, reaching it on sukla ekadasi, the eleventh day of the waxing moon of Asadha. The stopping times along some of the routes are precisely set by the motion of the moon along the ecliptic. Due to the changing speed of the moon in its elliptical orbit pilgrims must change their walking speed.