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Holy Destinations of India

Shirdi

Abode of the charismatic Shri Saibaba, Shirdi is the mystical town fragrant with the devotional intensity that sees devotees from across the world thronging to this small hamlet. Highly placed on the world map of spirituality, Shirdi is located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and close to the holy city of Nasik.

Such is the devotional strength of the place that even a casual visitor cannot remain unaffected by the faith and conviction of the devotees on Saibaba. Bereft of any religious narrowness, Saibaba was essentially an Indian Guru, a Fakir who was regarded by both Hindu and Muslim communities. He worshipped both at temples and mosques and encouraged tolerance between both the faiths. His life and teachings are wonderful semblance of both faiths.

Saibaba is believed to have arrived at the village of Shirdi when he was about sixteen years old. He took up residence in a Khandoba temple, where a villager (Mahalsapathi) at worship first called him Sai ("saint"). Bearing an extremely simple and ascetic life, Sai Baba lived in the village as a mendicant monk. His inherent charisma soon began attracting followers. He has been attributed numerous miracles which still live expanding the list of his devotees. Today Saibaba temples are all across India and even beyond. Devotees have established Sai temples in countries like Canada and Cuba.

Location of Shirdi

Shirdi is located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra in Western India. Shirdi extends latitude 1945 N and longitude 7425 E. This remote hamlet has gained a massive popularity across the globe for its association with the charismatic saint Shri Saibaba.

Shirdi is among most sacred pilgrim spots in India. Easily accessible from all the major cities of Maharashtra by road, Shirdi is equally approachable from across the country through rail and air network. However Shirdi does not appear on either rail or air, still a good road network ensures that the tourists have an easy and no-hassle travel to Shirdi by road.

Shirdi is quite close to the holy city of Nashik with just 90kms away. It takes about 6hrs to reach Saibaba of Shirdi from Mumbai. Pune is about 206kms from Shirdi

General Information :-

Location: Ahmednagar district, Maharashatra
Climate: Dry Climate
Temperature: Max - 40 C, Min - 70 C
Languages: Marathi, Hindi and English
Best Time to Visit: June to August (Monsoons)
Special Day: Every Thursday
Attractions: Samadhi Mandir, Guru Sthan, Khandoba Temple
Nearest Airport: Aurangabad (144km)
STD Code: 02423

 

Attractions of Shirdi

Samadhi Mandir: The Mandir is built with stones and Baba's Samadhi is built with white marble stones. A railing is built in marble around the Samadhi and is full of ornamental decorations. In front of the Samadhi are two silver pillars full of decorative designs. Just behind the Samadhi is Sai Baba's marvelous statue made of Italian marble which shows him seated on a throne. This idol was made by late Balaji Vasant. The routine of the temple starts at 5 o'clock in the morning with Bhoopali, a morning song, and closes at 10 o'clock in the night after Shejarati is sung. Only on three occasions the temple is kept open overnight. ie. On Gurupoornima, Dassera, and Ramnavami. Every Thursday and on each festival, a palkhi with Baba's photo is taken out from the temple.

At the end of the marble hall is the strikingly lifelike statue of the saint, in front of which is his grave. The walls of the hall are lined with portraits of his foremost disciples - many of whose names will be familiar to regular readers of the Sai Satcharita.

Kakad Aarti - 5.15 am
Holy Bath of Sai Baba - 6.00 am
Darshan begins - 7.00 am
Shri Sai Satyavrat Pooja - 8.00 am- 10.00 am
Abhishek - 8.00 am
Noon Aarti - 12.00 noon
Pravachan (from the Puranas) - 4.00 pm
Dhoopaarti - Sunset

Bhajan, Keertan - 9.15 - 9.45 pm
Shejaarti - 10.00 pm
The palanquin procession is between 9.15 and 10 pm on Thursdays.

 

Dwarkamai: Shri Sai Baba came to Shirdi with a marriage procession. He stayed at Dwarkamai till very end of his life. Dwarkamai is situated on the right side of the entrance of Samadhi Mandir. Here he solved problems of the people, cured their sickness and worries. Before Baba's arrival in Shirdi, Dwarkamai was an old mosque in a dilapidated condition. Baba turned it into Dwarkamai and proved that God is one.

Gurusthan: Sai Baba first came to Shirdi in the form of Bal Yogi - a child ascetic. He was first spotted seated under a Neem tree. This place came to be known as Gurusthan.  The renovation of Gurusthan was made on 30th September, 1941. The present temple was built after this period. There is a small shrine in Gurusthan. On a elevated platform of this shrine a big portrait of Baba is placed. On the side is a marble statue of Baba. In front of the portrait is a Shivling and the Nandi. Photos of twelve Jyotirlingas are kept in the temple. The branches of the Neem tree have come out through the roof of the temple.

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 belonging to him.

Lendi Baug: At some distance from Gurustahan there is a Lendi Baug. This Baug was made and watered daily by Baba himself. It got its name a Nalla (a drain) which used to previously flow there. Baba used to come here every morning and afternoon and take rest under a Neem Tree.

Khandoba Mandir: This temple is situated on the main road. In front of this temple Baba was welcomed by Poojar Mhalsapti, of this temple, Saying "Aao Sai", when Baba stepped in Shirdi. In this temple there are icons of Khandoba, Banai and Mhalsai.

Photos of Shirdi

Sai Baba Samadhi of Sai Baba

 

Best Time to Visit Shirdi

Monsoons : June to August
Ramnavami : March/April
Guru Purnima : July
Vijayadashmi (Sri Sai Punyatithi) : October

Shirdi is the holy abode of Shri Sai Baba and thousands of pilgrims throng the town each day from across India and beyond. You can visit the Shri Saibaba temple at anytime you wish, however Monsoons i.e., between June and August are the period considered to be the best time to be here. Reason being the weather, which is simply so pleasant and inviting. You don't need to bother about sweat and heat; with drizzling and cool breeze all around your mystical journey to Shirdi becomes heavenly. Winters are also quite a good time to visit Shirdi. Winters are not harsh in here and temperature can dip to 7 degree Celsius.

However, you can plan your trip or pilgrimage to Shirdi during one of the three major festivals that are celebrated here with great fervor and excitement. These three festivals are Ram Navami, Guru Purnima and Vijayadashamai. During these festivals thousands of devotees flock in here and the whole atmosphere of the Shirdi becomes vibrant with puja, bhajan (music), rath yatra (processions with palanquin) and many more events.

You can come to participate in Ramanavami at Shirdi, celebrated every year in March or April. It is also the time when Saibaba's urus is held. Urus is a muslim festival that is celebrated to honor a saint. This shows the kind of communal harmony that weaves people of different faiths at Shirdi. This year that is in 2007, Shirdi is celebrating the Ramnavami from 26th to 28th of March.

Gurupurnima or Full Moon is also a wonderful time to visit Shirdi. In 2007, Shirdi is celebrating Guru Purnima from 28th to 30th July. This is the time devotees all across the world converge in Shirdi to seek Saibaba's blessings. There is also Vyasa Puja that is held during Guru Purnima, in honor of Ved Vyasa who wrote the epic Mahabharata.

Vijayadashmi is a big festival in Shirdi, venerated as a holy day when Shri Saibaba left his mortal body for heavenly abode. The festival is celebrated as Shri Sai Punyathithi in Shirdi attracting great number of devotees from all over the world. This year the festival is celebrated from 20th to 23rd October.

You can choose any of the festive seasons to make a spiritual journey to Shirdi and of course any other time is equally fulfilling.


How to Reach Shirdi:

The sacred abode of Shri Sai Baba at Shirdi is easily accessible from all the corners of India and even from all the major cities of the world. You can reach this pilgrim center by air, train and road, which ever medium that suits you.

By Air
The nearest airport to Shirdi is at Nashik, 75kms away, Aurangabad is at a distance of 150kms, which is connected by all the major towns of India. You can also come till Mumbai by air and travel down to 296kms to reach Shirdi. Mumbai has both international and domestic airports that grant connectivity to the world. Domestic airport in Pune is about 231kms from Shirdi. There are regular public and private transport operators that ensure your easy access to the sanctum of Saibaba.

By Rail/Train
Kopergaon on Daund-Manmad Line is an important railway station about 16kms from Shirdi. This station is on the route of the Karnataka Express from New Delhi to Bangalore. Manmad is another important station about 58kms from Shirdi which carries a number trains from Mumbai and Delhi. Shirdi has a computerized Railway Ticket Booking Center within the temple premises. From here you can have railway tickets of whichever destination all through India.

By Road
Shirdi can be reached by taking a Bus from almost all major cities of Maharashtra. Shirdi is on the Ahmednagar-Manmad Highway, 250 km from Mumbai and 75 km from Nashik. MTDC runs buses from all major destinations.

Shirdi Guideline and Information

1. For proper guidance and assistance to the devotees, Reception centers have been opened opposite the S.T. Bus stand.

2. On arrival to Shirdi, devotees should immediately get in touch with the above mention Reception centers of the Sansthan and should thereafter proceed to the Enquiry Office for booking their accommodation which is made available after registration of name and other particulars.

3. Occupied room(s) should be locked before going out.

4. If the accommodation provided is in the common hall, luggage should always be left in charge of a member of the party to safeguard it from anti-social elements.

5. A locker is available at nominal charge and against a deposit, which may be booked at the enquiry office, and used for keeping luggage or any other valuables.

6. Care should be taken not to leave any belongings behind in the toilets and the bathrooms.

7. As the Samadhi Mandir is over-crowded at the time of Arati, devotees should safeguard their ornaments and purses from pick-pockets and mind their children.

8. Devotees should note that all religious functions and Poojas in the Sansthan premises are to be arranged and performed through the office of the Sansthan. Necessary payments for these are to be made at the office against a receipt. Boxes have been provided by the Sansthan in the Mandir itself to receive the devotees' offerings by way of Dakshina and Hundis.

9. Offering to Shri Sai Baba in cash or kind should always be made at the office against a receipt.

10. Devotees should bear in mind that Baba left no heirs or disciples and should guard themselves against such deception practiced by impostors.

11. As all the necessary assistance and guidance is readily available to the devotees at the Reception center of the Sansthan, assistance from unauthorized guides at the S.T. stand, if taken by the devotees, will be at their own risk.

12. Devotees are warned against practitioners of black magic professing allegiance to Shri Sai Baba, and also against those circulating chain-letters, asking the receiver to send a certain number of copies of the letter to his friends.

13. Literature about Shri Sai Baba containing authentic information has been published by the Sansthan and is readily available at book shops near the Samadhi Mandir.

14. A complaint/suggestion book is always kept in the office for the use by the devotees, in which they are requested to write clearly their complaints/suggestions along with their full name(s) and addresses. The Sansthan authorities take due note of such complaints/suggestions.

15. Donations should always be sent by Money Orders, Postal Orders, Crossed and A/c. Payee Cheques or Drafts to ensure safe delivery of the same. Do not send cash or currency notes in postal envelopes.

16. As the various dealers and vendors of Pooja articles are not connected with the Sansthan, devotees should first fix the price before buying these articles to avoid any trouble thereafter.

17. All donations for oil for the Nanda-deep and for firewood for Dhuni in the Dwarkamai are to be given in the Accounts office only. Further details regarding these can be obtained from the Temple-in-charge.

18. Devotees desirous of feeding the poor can arrange to do so against cash payment to be made to the Prasadalaya itself or the account office. Coupons are not accepted for this purpose.

19. Devotees desirous of distributing alms to beggars can do so only in the beggars' shed, near Prasadalaya with the help of the Security officer.

20. Devotees making correspondence should give their complete and correct addresses.

21. Devotees are requested to avail of the facilities at the Tea canteen and Prasadalaya run by the Sansthan where tea and meals are served at subsidized rates.

22. Medical facilities are available at the well-equipped Sainath Hospital run by the Shirdi Sansthan.

23. The Sansthan has not appointed any representative for the purpose of collecting donations in cash or otherwise. Devotees are informed that no donations either in cash or otherwise should be given to anybody personally. This is to avoid deceit as well as to prevent devotees from being cheated by unscrupulous elements.

       

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