The buses carrying 'padukas' (holy footprints) of saint-poets Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram and palkhis of other holy figures reached Wakhri, a village 5 kilometres from temple town Pandharpur, late Tuesday night.
As per tradition, all palkhis meet at Wakhri before heading towards Pandharpur to celebrate Ashadhi Ekadashi, which falls on Wednesday.
"The buses carrying the padukas of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram from Alandi and Dehu respectively and other prominent palkhis of Sant Eknath (Paithan in Aurangabad), Sopandev Maharaj, Nivruttinath Maharaj, Sant Muktabai reached Wakhri," a Solapur district administration official said.
"They were received by Solapur guardian minister Dattatray Bharne. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will perform the mahapuja of Lord Vitthal and Rukhmini in the early hours of Wednesday," he added.
Earlier in the day, two flower-decked buses carrying the 'padukas' left from Pune with a limited number of warkaris for Pandharpur on the eve of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'. People were seen lined up along the roads with folded hands as the buses passed.
Lakhs of 'warkaris', or devotees of Lord Vitthal, from Maharashtra and other states throng the temple in Pandharpur every year on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.
However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government cancelled the annual wari pilgrimage, which is characterised by people walking for far to Pandharpur with palanquins.
The district administration had said in the morning that 90 warkaris were allowed to accompany the procession after COVID-19 tests.