– Sakal Times Correspondent
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 – 12:02 PM IST
PIMPRI: A successful trial of a new battery-operated chariot for the palkhi procession of Sant Dnyaneshwar developed by the Dighi-based Research and Development Establishment (R&DE) was successfully conducted in Dive Ghat on June 14.
With the battery-operated mechanism, there will now be no need for five pairs of bullocks to pull the heavy chariot on the palkhi route from Alandi to Pandharpur and back.
The trial has proved that now the chariot can be pulled with just one pair of bullocks or even without any bullocks.
Dr Prashant Suru, head of the Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi Procession Committee, said that the trial, conducted in the presence of the R&DE experts, was successful. The new chariot is being developed at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore.
The need of a battery-operated chariot was felt following the death of a bullock during the annual Ashadi pilgrimage from Alandi to Pandharpur pilgrim town last year.
After the trial, the chariot was taken back to the R&DE campus in Dighi where the work of the remaining design and other works will be completed. The chariot is expected to be ready for the palkhi procession within a week.
The chariot’s battery will run for about 12 hours and can be fully charged within six hours. A steering has been attached to the 13-feet long and seven-feet wide chariot.
There will be three domes above the chariot. It has been attached with a generator, which will be used to light up the lamps. The total weight of this chariot is 1,900 kg while the older chariot weighed about 3,000 kg. The height of the chariot has also been reduced to facilitate its smooth movement.
BULLOCKS TO PULL CHARIOT
The chariot of Sant Tukaram palkhi procession will be pulled by a pair of bullocks owned by Thergaon-based farmer Vitthal Gujar and another pair of bullocks owned by Pimple Gurav-based farmer Shantaram Jagtap. Altogether 18 persons had applied to the Dehu temple trust to seek the honour of using their bullocks for pulling the chariot from Dehu to Pandharpur and back