Shirdi town is situated in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra State. It is a great spiritual centre to people from all religions and is famous for Shri Sai Baba Temple located in the heart of the town.
122 kms from Nashik is the abode of one of Maharashtra’s most revered saint — Sai Baba of Shirdi. Popularly known as the ‘Child of God’, Sai Baba preached tolerance towards all religions and the message of universal brotherhood.
Every activity at Shirdi revolves around the vast temple complex dedicated to Sai Baba. Devotees start queuing up in the early hours of dawn to catch a glimpse and seek the blessings of the life-size statue of Sai Baba. Thursday is marked by special pujas and darshan of the Sai Baba statue. There are other places of interest that devotees can visit as well including Dwarkamani Mosque where the Baba meditated and slept on alternate nights. Near the mosque, in a corridor is the dhani or eternal flame that burns day and night. Other places of importance are the Gurusthan, the Kandoba Temple, Shani Mandir, Narsimha Mandir, Changdev Maharaj Samadhi and the Sakori Ashram.
One of the foremost saints of modern India, lived in the small village of Shirdi in the state of Maharashtra for sixty years. Due to his presence there even after his Samadhi, today the small village has transformed itself as a great spiritual centre to people from all religions. Shri Sai Baba, in spite of his great spiritual stature, never publicized himself through discoursing, touring and preaching—unlike many of today’s ‘so-called’ saints. Rather, he discouraged unnecessary publicity. But still, his spiritual perfection is still drawing innumerable devotees to him from all over the world.
Sai Baba did never reveal his original name, time and place of birth, especially his religion and caste, and even the names of his parents. Through this, he has emerged as a solution to all the religious and communal differences that are destroying the world today. He preaches that God is Almighty and he has given all the souls on earth equal opportunity to reach him, whichever is the religion they belong to. ‘Sai Baba’ is the name given to him by his first devotee, Mahalsapathi – ‘Sai’ means ‘Saint’ and ‘Baba’ means ‘Father’. The name is just an expression of love, reverence and devotion.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Samadhi Mandir of Shri Sai Baba was actually owned by a millionaire from Nagpur and a famous Sai devotee Shreemant Gopalrao. He wanted to keep an idol of Murlidhar here. However, according to the legends, Baba himself became Murlidhar and the temple became the Samadhi Mandir of Baba. The Samadhi of Baba is built with white marble stones. The railings around it are full of ornamental decorations. The idol of Baba is a marvelous statue made up of Italian marble built by Late Balaji Vasant in 1954. The temple has an assembly hall for about 600 devotees. The assembly hall also houses a showcase having various items used by the sage. The first floor of the temple has the pictures depicting the life of the saint.
The temple opens on 5 AM with morning prayers and close down at 10 PM with night prayers. Situated on the right side of the entrance of the Samadhi Mandir is Dwarkamai, a mosque. This was the place where the sage stayed until the end of his life. Main attraction of the site is the oil paintings of the sage.
The place from where Sai Baba first came to Shirdi in the form of a Bal Yogi (child ascetic) is known as Gurusthan. A temple has been constructed on this site. There is also a small shrine in Gurusthan.
At a short distance lies Baba’s Chavadi. Baba used to sleep here every alternate day. The Chavadi is divided into two parts. One part of the Chavadi has a large portrait of Baba along with a wooden bed and a white chair belonging to him.
There is a cottage of Abdul Baba, an ardent devotee of Shri Sai Baba, in front of the Chavadi. Photos and various items that were handled by Sai Baba and Abdul Baba are there in the cottage. There is a Maruti Mandir located at some distance from the cottage of Abdul Baba. This mandir was visited by Baba for the sat-sang with Devidas, a Bal yogi, who lived at the Mandir ten to twelve years before Baba arrived.
There are also temples of village deities named Shani, Ganapati, and Shankar that are worth visiting.
At some distance from Gurusthan, there is the Lendi Baug. This garden was made and watered daily by Baba himself. It got its name from a nullah (a drain), which used to flow there. Baba used to come here every morning and afternoon and take rest under a neem tree. Baba dug a pit, 2 feet deep, under the neem tree and kept a deep (a lighting object) lit in that pit. An octagonal deepgriha (lighthouse) called Nanda Deep has been built in marble stone in memory of this place. It constantly burns in a glass box. On one side of the deepgriha is a pipal tree and on the other side is a neem tree.
The nearest airport is Aurangabad (144 Km/90 mile) which Sri Saibabais connected by Indian Airlines and private airlines with other cities / towns. The convenient rail heads are Nasik(123 Km/76 mile) and Manmad (60 Km/37 mile). Shirdi is well connected by Road with Mumbai via Nashik-Sinnar and Manmad. You can get the taxis from Dadar-Mumbai(Journey Time-7 hours) up to Shirdi or you can get the Luxury Coach for Shirdi or take a train up to Nasik and take a taxi for Shirdi.
Air-Conditioned Private Taxi / Cab service is provided by eCabs. You can pre-book the car either from Mumbai City Hotel / Mumbai Airport or from Pune City Hotel / Pune Airport. We charge a fixed rate for Car Travel from Mumbai / Pune with one night halt in Shirdi. Our vehicle will be at your disposal during your stay in Shirdi and will drop you back either in Hotel / Airport back in Mumbai or Pune. Once you make the payment to us, you do not have to pay anything to the driver. We put in our best efforts to see that you come back satisfied after visiting Baba.
WHERE TO STAY
Shirdi has accommodation available to every income group, starting from budget to high-end. STD facilities are available in most of the hotels. Most of the visitors like to stay near the temples in Shirdi. However you can also stay in Nashik which is a commercial / cosmopolitan city, hence has good eating / shopping places. It terms of hotels also there are hotels for budget travelers as well as 5 Star Taj Hotel. If you prefer to be around Baba, then choose a hotel in Shirdi. Other wise Nashik offers a much more wide choice in terms of budget, ambience, restaurant etc.
WHAT TO EAT
The administrative body of Shirdi temple runs a prasadalaya to provide lunch and dinner to the devotees. Nearly one thousand devotees can take Baba’s prasad at the same time. The kitchen of the prasadalaya is equipped with modern cooking machineries and is free of pollution. Food-packets are available to the devotees from 8:00 in the morning to 12:00 noon. There is a canteen service available to the devotees day and night.