Shirdi is a small town on the Ahamadnagar- Manmad highway. Situated around 307 km northeast of Mumbai, the town is around 6 hr drive from Mumbai. Shirdi is a silent place with population of around 15000. The city earns the major part of its revenue from the tourists and pilgrims whose number sometimes crosses the 30000 mark with utmost ease. This holy destination is a home to a great legend Sai Baba who lived her for around eighty years before he went into his Samadhi some 80 years ago in 1918. Shirdi is mainly a religious centre. The town is tiny and is of just 2 Sq km. It has a main street and is full of narrow by lanes that are covered with small shops, most of them selling material that are offered at the temple.SAI BABA - SPIRITUALITY PERSONIFIED
Sai Baba, the legend who showed us the path to the ultimate nirvana is how he is remembered. He was a paradigm of unmitigated spirituality. As for all other true saints, information about Sai Baba is also very less and unconfirmed, like the town and year of his birth. As the legend has it, Sai Baba reached Shirdi as an unknown man and used to roam around the outskirts of Shirdi, in the adjacent forests or used to sit under a Neem tree completely immersed in his lord( The All Mighty). He was of a very simple appearance and wore a kafni (a long shirt). He also tied a white cloth around his head. He used a sack cloth to sit and sleep on. A woman named Bayyaji Bai was one of the earliest persons who saw his divine powers and started believing in him. She used to take food in a basket on her head into the deep jungles, searching for him. Later on, as if out of consideration for Bayyaji Bai, he started spending his time in a bedraggled mosque on the outskirts of the town. He used to call it 'Dwarkamai'. Every day he used to distribute the money that he got as Dakshina, to the poor and needy. He started solving problems of people, sometimes even by using miracles because he never liked anybody leaving his place empty handed. Everybody started addressing the less known fakir as Sai Baba. Devotees started pouring into Shirdi and the town became a pilgrim centre for all.
Sai Baba raised a flower garden in the village and used to water the plants every day. He spent a lot of his later years in that garden. Sai Baba went through his divine mission by providing the needy with his love, compassion; purity and spiritual knowledge that helped them live a happy and dignified life. Sai Baba left his physical body and went into Samadhi in 1918.SHIRDI AS A PILGRIM DESTINATION
Shirdi is Holy place with the presence of many unworldly places that are related to Sai Baba that can be visited by devotees throughout the year. The main places of interest are -SAMADHI MANDIR
This is the place where Sai Baba went into his Samadhi. The temple is built of stones whereas the Samadhi is built up of white marbles, with beautiful ornamental decorations. Behind the Samadhi there is an idol of Sai Baba which shows him seated on a throne. The idol is made up of pure Italian marble and is a masterpiece indeed, it appears as if Sai Baba is about to speak to his devotees.. The temple can be visited from 5 AM till 10 in night. On Guru-Poornima, Dassera, and Ramnavami festivals, the temple is open overnight. On every Thursday, a palkhi with Baba's photo is taken out from the temple, which is worth a watch.DWARKAMAI - THE HOLY PlACE
This is where Sai Baba used to live. After coming to Shirdi, Sai Baba stayed here till end days of his life. The mosque is situated on the right side of Samadhi Mandir where Sai Baba used to meet his devotees and solved their problems. The sacred fire 'Dhuni' lighted by Sai Baba has been constantly burning for more than a hundred years now. The sacred ash 'Udi' is collected twice everyday and is distributed among the devotees. A life size portrait of Sai Baba at his sitting place inside the mosque premises is definitely generates awe in its visitors.GURUSTHAN - RESTING PLACE OF THE GOD
This is the spot under the Neem tree where the saint was first seen. Sai Baba himself called this place a holy place. He said this is the resting place of his Lord (the almighty), that is why, this spot is called Gurusthan. Worship the portrait of Sai Baba kept here on an elevated platform.LENDI BAUG - THE FLOWER GARDEN
To the northwest of Samadhi temple, Lendi Baug, a garden is situated. Once a waste land, it was turned into a flower garden by Sai Baba himself. He used to water it daily and used to spend few hours here meditating. Today it is maintained by devotees and still is a very beautiful garden with amazing collection of flowers.WHERE TO PUT UP
Shirdi is a small town with limited number of hotels to stay but these hotels are not more than 10 minute walk away from the temple. They are operational throughout the year as the time and season to visit Shirdi is favorable throughout the year.
It is located in the Nighoj village on the outskirts of Shirdi. It' a 100 room hotel with facilities like cable TV, swimming pool, health club and various indoor games.
This hotel is close to temple and is located on Pimpalwadi road. It provides facilities like restaurant, drivers accommodation and Satsangs. It has 80 rooms for a pleasant stay.
Located on Pimpalwadi road, this hotel is close to temple and is walking distance away. It's a 36 room accommodation and provides facilities like travel desk, doctor on call, room service and cable TV.
The nearest airport is Aurangabad which around 144 km away. It is connected to other cities by Indian Airlines. It takes around 3 hrs to reach Shirdi by road.
The nearest stations are Nasik around 123 km away and Manmad around 60 km away. The best option is the Tapovan Express that departs from Mumbai at 6.30 AM and reaches Manmad at 11.30 AM. There are regular Bus services from this station to Shirdi.
Since Shirdi is located on Ahmadnagar - Manmad road, it is easily accessible through roadways. Many private bus operators run their luxury coaches from nearby cities to Shirdi at regular intervals. You can also opt for taxis that ply on all major routes.
Being a small town, getting around in Shirdi is not a problem. There are rickshaws and autos that play the major role of ferrying tourists inside the town.