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A pilgrimage to Shirdi Sai Baba.
Dec 18, 2010 03:23 PM 16352 Views

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I have been visiting Shirdi since last 4 years and wish to share my experience which might be useful for you.The reviews posted by other MS users are quite good and I will try not to say the same things.


I stay in mumbai and for me the best way to reach Shirdi is by bus.There are many tour operators who have daily buses going to Shirdi  from all over Maharashtra.There is no railway station at Shirdi itself , nearest station been Kopargaon ( 15 kms) and Manmad ( 60 Kms) from where you have taxi's or buses coming to Shirdi.


I normally take a SS travel bus from Mumbai to Shirdi (250 kms), cost Rs 175, starting at 20:00 from my pick up point and reaches Shirdi by 04:00 am.Most of buses operating from mumbai charge around Rs 200( normal Non Ac Volvo bus) and take about 7 hours to reach Shirdi.Most of the tour buses drop you at a designated dormitory  ( cost Rs 100 ) where one can freshen up and have a  have a quick bath and also keep your bags etc in the cloak room.


If you are expecting Shirdi to be a huge place with lots of facilities you would be dissappointed. It is made up of a single main road which houses hotels, restaurant, flower stalls , travel agencies etc on either side of the road and of course the Shri Sai baba temple.Most of the economy is due to tourist who come to visit the  Shri Saibaba temple.


On reaching Shirdi you will feel great inner peace and sense of calmness  prevail over you.Shri Sai Baba's Samadhi Mandir  where Sacred Body of Baba is resting in Samadhi is a huge and clean complex and is well maintained by the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan.The temple darshan timings are from 4 A M to 11.15 P.M with the KAKAD aarti beginging at 04:30 followed by the "Mangal  Snaan" of Shri Sai's murthy at 5.05 am.


The halls where you wait in line for the Darshan has LCD tv's showing the Aartis/abhisekh been performed live. The darshan itself will be less then one minute due to high volume of devotee's thronging the temple.The atmosphere itself is very spritual with people chanting bolo shri Sainath Maharaj ki jai" all the way and you are bound to forget your problems while you are in the temple.The waiting time is around 30 min at 5 am (during weekdays and non holidays) and will keep increasing as the day begins. By 09:00 am expect a wait for 2 hrs atleast.


The complex also as a Museum which shows artifacts used by Sai baba and has many paintings, It also has a book store where one can buy Sai Baba's books.bhajan CD etc .One can also get clothes and prasad offered to Sai Baba.


It also has Gurusthan- the tree where Sai Baba was first spotted meditating by the people of Shirdi;Dwarakamayi--the mosque where Baba resided till his Samadhi  and Lendi Baug -This small garden was made and watered daily by Baba himself.


The temple premises also has the samadhis of some of Sai Baba's most prominent devotees.You can spend couple of hours going around the complex immersing your self in Sai bhakti.


On the main road, adjacent to the temple complex is the Bhakti niwas (maintained by the same Sansthan) which provides accommodation, laddoo prasad counters (Rs 10 for packet of 3 ladoos), tea, coffee (Rs 2) and breakfast at a very nominal price. It also has counters to deposit your footwear and mobile phones(Rs 2).It has around 300 rooms prices vary from Rs 50 to 500 but are always crowded and there will be a waiting time to get these rooms.


The food available in numerous hotels in Shirdi are average and nothing to write about. There are also numerous stalls which sell momentos, bhakti items etc here. And yes I have also seen CCD and Dominos here :)


You can also visit Shani Signapur from Shirdi (2 hours journey).This place only has the Shani temple which one has to do an oil offering after taking a bath.


You get taxi service also from Shirdi to Shani signapur and back (Rs 150). There is no hotel there so you can go round the temple in less than an hour. All you have out there is a black stone which is said to be Lord Shani and has come out of the ground. People who take a bath and wear black clothes can go on the platform near the stone but are not allowed to touch., make sure you dont get fleeced by people selling sesame oil and pooja offerings. Its another totally commercialized place and you can skip it if you are not an ardent worshiper of Shani dev.


one interesting thing fact in Shingnapur is that no house in the village has  doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft is reported in the  village.Villagers never keep their valuables under lock and key and believe that God Shani punishes anyone attempting theft.


Any visit to Shirdi will not take more than 4 hours and you have buses going back to Mumbai/Pune etc starting from 09:30 am every 15 min.The only irritating factor is that they keep going round and round till the bus is full.


Some advice  from myself to help for good trip to Shirdi :


1) Try to make it an overnight journey so that you reach Shirdi by early morning.The temple is opens at 04:00 am till 23:00 pm.The KaKAAD Aarti starts @ 04:30 am. Remember the more late you go the more crowd you will encounter.


2) No mobile and cameras allowed inside the temple premises so  ensure that you leave your cell phones in ur hotel/guest rooms. though there is a option to deposit these things in the Saibaba Sansthan Trust premises adjacent to the temple for Rs 2 it's  a waste of time because of single Q for taking and depositing ur phones


3) There are lots of  stalls selling coconuts, flowers, chunri, prasad etc for offering for Saibaba but they are highly priced. I feel you can take these prayer offering articles before u start ur journey as Sai baba will consider only ur sincere prayers and not from where the offerings have come.


4) Avoid going on holidays and festival times and also on Thursdays( consider Sai baba's day) as there is a massive crowd here and it might take more than 4 hours for a darshan during holidays.


5) If you plan to go to Shani Shingnapur the people there will try to fleece you for providing


black robe , sesame oil and other offerings.Ensure you bargain correctly and confirm the price before accepting the articles


6) Ignore any person offering to keep your footwear etc keep it in the counter provided by the temple trust.


Hope you liked my little description.Please M2M if you have any queries :).


Regards


Rajiv


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