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Weekend Getaways From Mumbai To Shirdi
Shirdi is a town in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. It is situated at about 180 kilometers from the Arabian seacoast. The place holds certain historic importance that in Shirdi the great Indian saint Sai baba lived till his Samadhi in 1918.Now it is an important pilgrimage Centre of India to which millions of devotees from all over the world come each year to offer their prayer.
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 absorbed in a hard penance. Sai Baba of Shirdi also known as Shirdi ke Sai Baba died October 15, 1918. Sai Baba opposed all persecution based on religion or caste also he was an opponent of religious orthodoxy Christian, Hindu and Muslim. Today, all places, persons, and possessions connected with him have become objects of veneration by millions of devotees who throng to Shirdi every year from all parts of the world. Sai Baba's shrine has been incorporated as one of the holy places in the world's map of pilgrimage.
Shirdi is in temperate climate zone. The temperature of the town fluctuates between 8”c to 40”c throughout the year. There is scanty rainfall in the town during the monsoon.
- Shirdi is well connected by road to Mumbai, Bangaluru, Nashik, Hyderabad & Pune. The duration of the journey from Mumbai to Shirdi is only 5 hours, the distance being 240 km on the Eastern Express Highway. Shirdi is also connected to all other places by railways. The exact station is known as Shirdi Sai Nagar. The other stations around Shirdi are Kopargaon (15 Km from Shirdi) or Manmad (65 Km from Shirdi) or Nasik (80 Km from Shirdi).
- Hired taxis are also available from Kopargaon, Manmad and Nasik
- By air- Shirdi has no airports. The nearest connecting airports to Shirdi are Aurangabad, Nasik, Mumbai and Pune. From the airports Shirdi can be reached by taxis or any other hired vehicles.
There are many hotels in Shirdi to spend a perfect weekend. Most notable of these are “Sun n Sand”, “Sai Leela”, “Shraddha Inn”, “Dwarawati Bhaktha Nivas”, “Hotel Sai Sahavas”. Also there are many low and mid budget hotels available in the vicinity of the town. There are abundant options for staying there in air conditioned as well as non-air conditioned rooms according to one’s budget. Shirdi is one of the safest towns, there are no violent criminal activities in and around the town. As Shirdi is a dry place the tourists who are allergic to dust are advised to carry their masks along with them.
Famous sightseeing places in Shirdi
The main attractions are the Temple where Sai Baba's samadhi is located, the former dwelling place of Sai Baba called Dwarakamayi, and the place called Chavadi where Baba used to sleep every alternate day.
Sai Baba Temple – It is the burial place or Samadhi of Sai Baba. It is located at the heart of the town. Entry to the Samadhi is free but a special pass can also be booked from Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust on exchange of Rs. 100 per person. There is a bit rush due to the devotees coming from all over India and also from different parts of the world. Still the average waiting time in que is around one hour on weekdays and two hours on weekends. The temple opens at 4am in the morning till 10pm in the night. Considering the people waiting in the que everyone is allowed a couple of minutes to spend at the Samahi sthal. There are also samadhis of some of Sai baba’ greatest devotees in the temple premises. The premises also accommodate a book stall where Sai baba’s books can be purchased. But mobile phones and cameras are strictly prohibited in the temple premises.
Gurusthan- After having a glimpse of the Samahi sthal at Sai Baba temple, the next important place is the Gurusthan where Sai Baba was first spotted meditating under a tree by the people of Shirdi. There is a Udhi counter where udhi or sacred ash can be collected.
Dwarakamayi- Dwarkamai is a mosque where Sai baba resided for a continuous period of 60 years till his Samadhi in 1918. The mosque lies adjacent to the Sai baba temple. The original structure has been renovated but it still contains the dhuni or the sacred flame which was lit by Baba 100 years ago. The flames are never allowed to die. It also contains some of the personal belongings of Baba like his grinding stone, his fire place and a stone where Baba used to sit.
Chavadi- It is the place where Baba use to sleep on alternate days and it lies a few meters from Dwarkamayi. On every Thursday night Baba's footprints are taken in a ceremonial procession from Dwarakamayi to Chavadi.
Khandoba Raya temple- This temple is located on the highway, around half km from the temple. This is the place where Mahalsapati first welcomed Sai Baba and recognized that He is no ordinary saint.
Lendi Baug - Within a short distance from Gurusthan, there is Lendi Baug which was made and watered by baba himself. Baba used to come here every morning and afternoon and take rest under a Neem tree.
Shopping-Trinkets and souvenirs like statues, magnets, stickers, books, photos and portraits of Sai baba are available at a negotiable price in a large no of shops in Shirdi. In the Sai baba temple nothing else is offered to baba except flowers.
Eating- Restaurants are abundantly available in Shirdi which offer a wide range of foods like Maharashtrian, Gujarati, South Indian, Continental etc. However most of the restaurants serve vegetarian food only. Shirdi also harbours the world's largest solar cooker under Shri Saibaba Sansthan which cooks food for thousands of devotees every day and one can eat this food for a nominal price of INR 10 per meal.
Best Season to Visit
In the winters (December- February) the temperature of Shirdi is around 10-20’c and that makes the perfect time to spend a weekend in Shirdi rather than in summer when the temperature may go up to 40’c.