Whether a Sai devotee or not, you should definitely visit Shirdi once in your lifetime. Shirdi is a town in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state where once the most revered saint Sai Baba used to reside because of which it has now turned into a pilgrim town, a town that is visited by thousands of people throughout the year to seek the blessing of Sai Baba. The religion of the people coming here is immaterial for it was never known what religion the saint himself belonged to and secondly because of his adage, “ everyone’s master is one”.
The place remains crowded especially on special occasions, one has to stand in long queues to get the darshan. Now there are some special facilities like VIP passes and online bookings for the Aartis which one can opt to reduce the time of standing in queue.
The main attractions here which one cannot miss are:
Sai Baba temple: One can visit the Sai Baba temple which is located in the heart of the town anytime to get the darshan but it is considered to be very special to attend any one of the four Aartis that happens at the temple during the day especially the Kaakad aarti which starts early morning around 4.30 A.M. One can reduce their time of wait to attend these aartis by online booking before hand.
Gurusthan: This happens to be the first place where Sai Baba was spotted as a Bal Yogi, it’s a neem tree which was later renovated and now has a small shrine. There is a belief among people that the tree has blessing of Sai Baba because of which its leaves are sweet whereas usually neem leaves are bitter.
Dwarkamai Mosque: It is said that this is where Sai Baba has lived for 60 years, its believed that the sacred fire which is known as Dhuni which was lit by Sai baba back then still continues to burn and back then he used to give the ash of this fire to his devotees to cure illness.
Chavadi: This where Sai baba use to sleep every alternate night. Back then he was taken from Dwarkamai mosque to Chavadi in a procession by his followers, even today the same tradition is practised, every thursday a procession is carried out from Dwarkamai to Chavadi where in a decorated palki some of Sai Baba’s possession is kept.
Dixit Wada Museum: Some of Sai Baba’s possession like his robe , smoking pipe, utensils, chappal are on display here along with some old photos of him along with his followers.
Lendi Baug: It is believed that Sai baba himself made and watered this garden also its said that he had dug a pit under the neem tree and had lit a lamp. In this memory Nanda deep was built with marble stones and the lamp continues to burn in a glass box. Lendi Baug is where the tomb of some of the followers of Sai Baba lies.
It’s easy to reach Shirdi as its well connected, there are buses from Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. And if you are coming from any other part of the country then you can come to Pune by train or flight or bus and from there you have multiple options buses or cabs that will take you from Pune to Shirdi in three to four hours.
As said earlier in the blog even if you are not a follower of Sai baba you should definitely visit Shirdi, you would be in for a pleasant experience as its a land of sanctity.