October 2008
« Sep   Nov »

Shirdi – the Sai Baba center

Languages Spoken : Marathi, Hindi, English
Best time to visit : September to April
STD Code : 02423
Temperature : Max – 40 C, Min – 7 C

Shirdi is a small town located in the state of Maharashtra in western India. The place is around 296 km (around 6 hours drive) from Mumbai. Shirdi is located at latitude 19°45′ N and longitude 74°25′ E. Shirdi is a small village in Kopargam taluk, in Ahmadnagar District of the Maharastra State. It is located on the Ahmednagar-Manmad Highway, and consists essentially of one bustling street and a maze of lanes and by-lanes.

Map of Shirdi (with location) from MapmyIndia.com

Shirdi came into prominence when an old sage died in 1918. The saga of Sai Baba of Shirdi started in the middle of the last century when, as a boy of about 16 years of age, he first appeared here under a neem tree (Azadirachta indica) absorbed in a hard penance. For the next 60 years, he devoted his life for the upliftment of the poor and suffering. Shirdi is basically a religious tourist center. Thousands of pilgrims flock to Shirdi. The Shirdi Saibaba Temple, located at Shirdi, Maharashtra, India attracts millions of devotees of all religions, castes and creed who come to pay homage to Shri Sai Baba. The temple is a beautiful shrine that was built over the Samadhi of Shri Sai Baba.

Places to see:

Samadhi Mandir (temple) of Sai Baba: The temple was owned by a millionaire and a famous Sai devotee from Nagpur, Shreemant Gopalrao. He wanted to keep an idol of Murlidhar here. According to legend, Sai Baba himself became Murlidhar and the temple became the Samadhi Mandir of Baba. The Mandir houses a statue of Sai Baba made of Italian marble and surrounded by ornamental decorations. The temple opens on 5 AM with morning prayers and close down at 10 PM with night prayers.

Dwarkamai: A mosque that Sai Baba inhabited till his death. The main attraction here are the paintings of him. A shrine has been constructed at the place where Sai Baba cam to as a child and is called Gurusthan. The dhuni (sacred fire) still burns here and its ash is smeared on devotees.

Shri Khandoba Mandir: Shri Khandoba Mandir is situated near the Shri Sainath Hospital. It enshrines the idol of Khandoba, along with that of Banai and Mhalsai. It is believed that when Sai Baba set his foot in Shirdi for the second time, Khandoba was the first place where he was welcomed.

Chawadi: Sai Baba used to go on a procession, from Dwarkamai to Chawadi, on every alternate day. Thereafter, he used to sleep there only. Today, a palanquin procession of Baba’s Photo, Holy Padukas and Satka is taken out every Thursday, to Chawadi. Divided into two parts, Chawadi houses of a huge portrait of Baba, along with his wooden bed and white chair.

Lendi Baug: Lendi Baug is the garden where Sai Baba used to go daily, for watering the plants. He used to go there every morning and afternoon and rest under a Neem tree. Besides the tree is Nandadeep, a deepak (diya) that used to lit by the Baba everyday in the pit dug by him. Today, the pit has been converted into a marble deepgriha (lighthouse), with a glass box in which the deep continues to burn. The other attractions of the Lendi Baug are Datta Mandir (samadhi of Sai Baba’s horse, Sham Sundar) and Baba’s Shivdi, a well.

Samadhi of Abdulbaba: The man who used to read Quran to Sai Baba was fondly known as Abdulbaba. The people of the town and those of Shirdi have sincere devotion towards Abdulbaba, who was also one of the most fervent followers of Baba. His samadhi is situated inside the premises of Shri Sai Baba Temple. The cottage where he used to live still stands intact and houses the photos and various items handled by him as well as Sai Baba.

Maruti Temple: Maruti Mandir is situated at a few minutes distance from the cottage of Abdulbaba. Sai Baba had a special devotion for the temple and used to visit it on a regular basis. He also conducted satsangs at the Maruti Temple, along with Devidas – a bal yogi, who used to reside in the temple 10-12 years before Baba came in Shirdi.

Shri Ganesh Temple, Shri Shani Temple and Shri Mahadev Temple: The three temples of Lord Ganesha, Shani Dev and Shri Mahadev are definitely worth having a look at

Nana Walli’s Samadhi: Nana Walli was also counted amongst the most passionate devotees and followers of Shri Sai Baba. He was a little different from the others in the way he behaved. He mainly concerned himself with looking after the daily schedule of Shri Saibaba. Nana Walli breathed his last in the year 1918 and thereafter, his samadhi was also built near Lendi Baug.

Shri Tatya Kote Samadhi: Tatya was the son of Bayjabai, the woman whom Sai Baba referred to as his mother. He was also one of the most dedicated followers of Baba and continued serving him till his death. Tatya died in the year 1945 and later, his samadhi was built near Lendi Baug.

Bhau Kumbhar’s Samadhi: Shri Bhau Maharaj was another one of the devoted followers of Shri Sai Baba. He left for the holy abode in the year 1938 and his samadhi is also situated near Lendi Baug.

Shri Gurusthan Mandir: Gurusthan means the place of the Guru. It is significant because it was here Saibaba spent most of his time when he first came to Shirdi. It is also the same place where, according to Saibaba, the tomb of his own guru was located by the Neem tree. The neem tree is still extant in the Gurusthan and there are also a pair of marble padukas on a pedestal, a ‘Shivalinga’ and a statue of Baba. A small dhuni on a stand is kept in front of the shrine, which is lit on Thursday and Friday. Gurusthan is a wonderful place to sit and meditate in peace.

Situated around 5 km from Shirdi is Sakori. The place is home to the Upasini Maharaj

Places to stay:
Hotel Sai Leela
Shraddha Park Inn
Hotel Goradias
Hotel Saish
Hotel Sai Sahavas
Shri Keshav Hotel Shirdi
Hotel Kuber Inn Shirdi
Sanskruti Resort Shirdi
Swamy Resort Shirdi
Hotel Sai Mahal Shirdi
Sai Residency Shirdi
Hotel Swaraj Deluxe Shirdi
Hotel Saish Shirdi

Air :- Nearest airport is Aurangabad (125km), then Pune (215 Km). Mumbai, (Domestic & International) 282 Km where you can get flights to anywhere
Rail:- Nearest Railway station Kopargaon (Daund-Manmad Line) 16 Km and Manmad (Junction) 58 Km. Most of the trains touching Nasik Road railway station also touch Manmad, and buses and taxis are easily available from Manmad to Shirdi.
Road:- Shirdi Can be reached by taking a Bus from any of cities in Maharashtra . Also buses to the same cities, depart from the Shirdi Bus Station.

Other articles:
1. WordPress.com blogs (link)
2. Guide Map of Shirdi (link)
3. Videos from the TV Serial (link)
4. Alpesh’s blog on Sai Baba (link)
5. Mp3’s of Bhajan’s and Aartis (link)
6. Links to Photos on Saibaba.org (link)
7. Photos from Saibaba.net (link)
8. Pictures from Sai Baba Trust (link)
9. Shirdi Photo Gallery (link)
10. Trip to Shirdi (Manoj Nair’s Blog) (link)

1 comment to Shirdi – the Sai Baba center

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>