Marki is a village in Amravati tahsil about 24 km. (18 miles)
distant from Amravati on Amravati Cikhaldara road. As per the 1961 Census its population was 824. Though small it is remarkable for the fair which is held annually in honour of Markinath. Markinath, who lived during the time of Sivaji the Great, was
originally a resident of Daryapur, coming from a respectable
family whose hereditary business was money-lending. An over
whelming change took place in his being when one day a certain
lady by name Sakarbai, whom he had loaned money, remarked
when he pressed her to return it back, that he would have attain
ed Moksa if he had loved God more than wealth. The remark
deeply affected Markinath's mind and on that very day he
renounced the worldly joys, his business, family, everything and
began to wander from place to place singing aloud songs in praise
of God. Finally he came to the village Marki where he breathed
his last. It is probable that the village came to be known as
Marki after this man. At the entrance of the village there is a
small pedestal-like construction of bricks, now practically in ruins which marks
the place where he was cremated.
It has a hollow on one side wherein were idols of Vitthal and Rakhumai. Those have now been deposited in the shrine of Markinath which is at a distance of about 91 metres (300 feet) from this spot. It is reported that Markinath was cremated contrary to his (lying wish and hence by some divine power he rose alive from the ashes and took samadhi where the shrine is seen now.
The area covered
by the mandir measures about 60x45 metres (200'x 150') and it. wears the appearance of an old dilapidated vada or palace. On crossing the entrance gate the visitor comes across two raised platforms or otas. There is also a courtyard about 1.858 sq. metres (twenty feet square). In the centre there is a Tulsivrndavan with an idol of Hanuman nearby. At one end of the compound,
to the right hand side of the visitor, is the shrine containing the samadhi. The samadhi is in complete darkness and a Nandadip is kept burning night and day. Upon this are placed four big conch shells and below it the foot-wear or padukas of Sri Markinath. The idols of Vitthal Rakhumai referred to above are also kept here. In honour of Markinath a fair lasting for three days is held in the bright half of Caitra. In fact the fair used to be largely attended by people coming from all over the Berar (Varhad) region. It was considered to be the Pandharpur of Berar. Goods worth Rs. 30,000 were sold. Now the importance of the fair is gradually on the decline and is attended hardly by 5,000 pet sons. But yet the great attraction of the fair is religious and consists of a homa or sacrifice in which hundreds of coconuts are offered. Bhajan melas or parties of ten or fifteen persons sing religious songs to the accompaniment of tomtoms, cymbals and other music. The village also contains samadhis of Rudranath and Bendoji Maharaj.
Samadhi of Rudranath.
Rudranath was the Guru of Markinath and his samadhi is
0.20 km. (a furlong) away from the village. There is a math, now in had repairs, where Rudranath used to have discourses on
religion for his followers. On Margasirsa Paurnima a homa or
sacrifice is performed and is, attended only by the village folk.
Bendoji Maharaj Samadhi
Bendoji Maharaj, yet another devotee of Markinath was
originally residing in the Rudranath math. His samadhi is situated at a distance of 0.40 km. (two furlongs) from the village
and the place is termed as Gopalpuri Samsthan. The samadhi is built on a square plinth admeasuring 0.929 m.2 (ten feet square)
and it stands in the centre of a piece of land admeasuring
0.810 hectares (2 acres) belonging to the Samsthan. The Maharaj
took samadhi in 1918. On Caitra Vadya Caturthi immediately on the second day following the fair of Markinath, a fair in honour of Bendoji Maharaj is held and is attended by a large number of people.