Yuriko Ikenoya from Japan has been associated with palkhi for 30 years now
Draped in a simple, white sari and a laptop in hand, Yuriko Ikenoya, is any other sanyasi at the Dyaneshwar Samadhi Temple, but that she is a Japanese by birth.
Speaking chaste Hindi, Yuriko, who is in her early 50s, reminisces about her 30 years at the Palkhi procession.
It was the abhangas (rhymes) by Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar, the great Maharashtrian saint poets, that inspired Ikenoya's decision to spend a month with the Palkhi pilgrimage and also go on foot from Alandi to Pandharpur. Ikenoya a graduate in Social Welfare visited Powanar Ashram to meet Vinoba Bhave in 1975 and decided to stay on.
Yuriko has been residing at the Pawnar Ashram in Vardha. Ikenoya has translated Vinoba's Bhagwad Gita into Japanese. She has also translated at least 1,000 abhangas by Tukaram.
Talking about the palkhi pilgrimage, Ikenoya admitted that her experience with other pilgrims was exhilarating. "I am a pakka Warkari now. I meet thousands every year and look forward to meeting more," she said.