Pilgrimage to Shirdi ( a cyber tour)

Steeple of Shri Shirdi Sai Samadhi Temple

Sai Baba's place Shirdi (Maharashtra State) is a very sacred, powerful and important place of pilgrimage in India. One can visit this holy place easily. It is a well-developed town connected by bus routes. There is an important Railway Station, Kopergaon, though which the Karnataka Express from New Delhi to Bangalore passes. A number of trains from Bombay and Delhi also pass through Manmad station. Shirdi is only about 58 kms. from Manmad and buses and taxis are easily available to reach there. The distance of Shirdi from some important cities is as under:
Bombay       -  266 kms.
Nasik           -   90 kms.
Hyderabad   -  610 kms.
Surat           -  373 kms.
Nagpur         -  618 kms.
Jalgaon        -  233 kms.
Ahmednagar -    83 kms.
Delhi            - 1166 kms.
Pune            -  207 kms.
Sholapur       -  312 kms.

There are arrangements for boarding and lodging at the Shirdi Sai Sansthan but since the crowd of people on all days, especially on Thursdays is very large, find it difficult to get accommodation. Besides, there are large number of good hotels to cater to the needs of all classes of devotees. They have to seek the same in hotels, lodging places and private houses. Although there are arrangements for selling breakfast, lunch and dinner packets at the sansthan, yet due to the heavy rush most people have to eat outside in the market or in the restaurants.



Routine at Shirdi

A typical souvenir shop at Shirdi

The Kakad Aarti (the early morning worship and prayer) is performed very early in the morning at 5.15 a.m. in the main sanctum sanctorium where Baba's body has been entombed. Then the Samadhi and the idol are washed ceremonially and clad. Everyday from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. the music of S ai Geet (devotional songs on Sai) is played. Then the abhishek (bathing of the deity) begins at 7.30 a.m. The noon aarti (mid-day prayer) takes place exactly at noon. After this aarti there is a break until the programme of singing, bhajan and kirtan (devotional songs) in the afternoon. There is aarti again at 6.30 p.m. (sunset prayer). Then there is kirtan or bhajan till 10 p.m. and the last aarti, i.e., Shej-aarti (night prayer) takes place at 10 p.m. The idol and the Samadhi are covered by a mosquito net and the Lord Sri Sai Baba is thereafter deemed to have gone to sleep as the devotees lovingly treat Him as a father.
On Thursdays, there is a procession of the palki (Baba's carriage) and the padukas (Baba's slippers) at night and five gunshots are fired at the time of the procession. Loudspeakers are arranged at the time of the aarti and on festival days.

Important PIaces at Shirdi
A visitor to Shirdi must invariably visit the following places:

Statue of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba in the Samadhi Temple, Shirdi

Samadhi Temple
The construction of the Samadhi Temple was started by Sri But! during the lifetime of Sai Baba, with a view to having a temple of Sri Krishna. At a time when the construction was almost complete, Sai Baba said that he would stay over there. So after Sai Baba attained Nirvana (eternal peace) His rnortal remains were buried at the place. The white marble pavement of the Samadhi was made afterwards. The marble statue prepared by sculptor Sri Talini of Bombay was installed by the side of the Samadhi in 1954. The spacious hall in front of the Samadhi was also paved with marble tiles later. The people coming for darshan, come first into the hall, which is decorated with photos,of the saints and devotees of Sai Baba. The statue ot Sai Baba, in a sitting position is such that He looks to every devotee coming for darshan in to the hall. In a room, on the left side of the hall, the articles used by Sai Baba are exhibited. There is a cellar below the rooms on the right-side where valuables are kept. There is gallery on the first floor and there are several rooms.








Shri Shirdi Sai Baba's Samadhi  in the
Samadhi Temple, Shirdi

Back side of the steeple of the
Shirdi Sai Baba's Samadhi Temple











Dwarkamayee Masjid
This was an old Masjid named as Dwarka Mai by Sai Baba Himself. He lived here all day and used to sit on a big stone, which is still preserved. A portrait of Sai Baba, painted during His lifetime, is also kept here. In front of the portrait, the sacred dhuni (fire) kindled by Sai Baba is kept burning since then. A grinding stone, a bathing stone, a wooden pillar, chulha (stove), padukas (slippers) and Tuls! (Holy Basil) Vrindavan, which were used by Sai Baba are all maintained here. Rath (carriage) and the pallanquin are also kept here in a small room. The udi, taken out from the ever-blazing dhuni, is used by the devotees as miraculous ash.

It is placed to the east of Dwarkamai. Sai Baba used to rest at this place every alternate night. A number of portraits of deities are exhibited here since the days of Sai Baba. A wooden plank and a wheel chair brought for Baba but never used by Him, are also kept here.

Area of Gurusthan in Shirdi

This is the place of Sai Baba's Guru. Sai Baba used to sit here under a neem (margosa) tree, leaves of which lost their bitterness due to the grace of Sai Baba., Incense is burnt here day and night in a pot, in front of the Temple, wherein Lord Shiva's pindi and Nandi are installed and padukas of Lord Sai Baba are also kept.

Lendibag and Nandadeep
Lendi nalla (stream) was flowing though this land and there was a burial ground at the place. Sai Baba dug a well here and He used to take out drinking water from it. Now the L4endi nalla is filled and a garden is laid there. A Nandadeep lamp is kept burning there since the day of Sai Baba, who used to sit here on a par (stone) near the Nandadeep, below the neem tree. This park is renovated and maintained. A new Dattatreya (the primordial guru) Temple has been built in the garden in front of the Ashwattha tree. There is the Samadhi of the horse Shamsunder, who used to bow down to Sai Baba and thereafter to the Samadhi daily, till its death. There are the Samadhis of Baba's devotees Abdul Baba, Nanavalli, Bhau Maharaj and Tatya at the entrance of the Lendibag.

Khandoba Temple
This is a small temple called Khandoba of Lord Shiva situated on the Ahmednagar-Kopargaon road. It was at this temple that Sai Baba was first greeted by Sri Mahalsapati as "Ya, Sai"

Mahadev, Shani and Ganesh Temples
These three temples are built in a line. The Mahadev Temple is very old and a statue of a tiger has been installed behind the Nandi. There is a dhuni in the Shani Temple also. The Ganesh Temple is also very old. There are the Keshav Temple and Mangal Karyalaya, built in recent years beyond the road on the eastern side.

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