Shirdi is a village north-east of Mumbai and has an extensive temple complex devoted to Shirdi Sai Baba. It is located by road on Ahmednagar-Manmad State Highway No.10 at 83 kilometers from Ahmednagar, and 15 kilometers from Kopargaon. The place is around 296 km (around 6 hours drive) from Mumbai. Sai Baba’s shrine has been incorporated as one of the holy places in the world’s map of pilgrimage.
Places to Visit:
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. Other sites to visit are Datta Mandir and Khandoba Mandir.
Fairs and Festivals:
The most important festivals and events that are celebrated in Shirdi are Guru Poornima, Dussehra, and Ram Navami. These are the only days when the Samadhi Mandir of Shirdi opens for the whole night. Every Thursday, a palakhi bearing a photograph of the sage is taken out from the temple.
Mumbai to Shirdi by Bus:
You could take a Cab; hire a private taxi or drive. (If you are an international tourist you may want to check the requirements for Driver’s license and road regulations with the Maharashtra State Road Transport department.). You could take a Maharashtra State Transport Bus. You could take a Bus operated by Private operators. For Fares, Schedules and other details contact your local travel agent, the Government of India Tourism Office, the Maharashtra State Tourism Board Office or the Maharashtra State Transport booking office.
Bus tickets are easily available online. One can plan trip and do bus booking
online in advance. Online bus booking
is an easy process which can save your time and price.