Posted 23 December 2022

Here’s why you should visit Shirdi during the festive season

With its temple town of Shirdi, nestled in Maharashtra, the city is woven around the teachings of Sai Baba, the famed saint who resided in Shirdi for more than five decades. The pilgrimage site of Shirdi draws around 60,000 devotees and followers of all faiths and religions daily, making it one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in India. The Shirdi Sai Baba Samadhi Mandir, located in the centre of the town, is where his mortal remains are interred.

This temple was built in 1922 to further the charitable work of Sai. Sai Baba came to Shirdi at the age of 16 and remained there till he was absorbed in Samadhi. Shirdi is a place of miracles, and it is believed that whether poor or rich, the wishes of every person who visits Sai are fulfilled.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the least popular days of the week to visit the Shirdi Temple. The crowds begin to arrive on Thursday, which is considered an auspicious day for Sai Baba followers, and usually begin gathering on Wednesday night. Weekends tend to be busier than weekdays in terms of traffic.

Here are the reasons why Shirdi hosts the best festive season, as the following festivals celebrated here are high on energy and full of positive vibes.

1. Ramnavami

Ramnavami is celebrated in Shirdi with traditions done between the mosque and the chavadi. A procession carrying Sai Baba's image is led throughout the village, and the wheat bag kept at the ‘prasadalya’ is replaced. Additionally, the Dwarkamai Masjid's flags are changed.

2. Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima is a celebration held when it is a full moon and is the only festival sanctioned by Sai Baba. On this particular day, many devotees visit Shirdi to pay their respects to Sai Baba and offer prayers at the temple. A Vyasa puja is also performed on this day in honour of Ved Vyasa, the author of the epic Mahabharata, who is widely revered as a saint.

3. Shirdi Vijayadashami

For Sai Baba's devotees, the day of Vijayadashami is considered very auspicious and has considerable religious significance. It commemorates that Christ ascended from his earthly body and began his journey to the celestial regions. On this day, it is usual to perform a ceremony known as ‘brahman bhojan’, during which several sadhus are fed and gurus are compensated.

4. The devotion towards Sai Baba

Shirdi is one of the holiest pilgrimage destinations in India, and it is also the residence of Sai Baba, India's most revered sacrosanct divine person. Every year, many devotees from all over the globe go to Shirdi to worship at the well-known shrine dedicated to Sai Baba. Sai Baba is a one-of-a-kind holy person revered by people of all faiths and regarded as such by everybody. A few people refer to him as Satguru, while others refer to him as Fakir. Indeed, the importance of Sai Baba is recognised by many religions, including Hindus, Jains, Christians and Zoroastrians.

5. Uncountable blessings

Sai Baba blesses everyone who pays a visit to his well-known sanctuary and bestows prosperity and happiness in their life. Aficionados also turn to Sai Baba with a particular objective in mind: to rid themselves of their past faults and evolve into better, more ethical individuals. It is stated that anyone who merely steps foot on the hallowed land of Shirdi may experience a certain heavenly vigour since Sai Baba continuously blesses the location.

Activities to do in Shirdi that you should know about

  • Dwarkamai: Located in the centre of Shirdi, this location is noteworthy for two reasons: first, it is believed to be the only mosque to include a temple, and second, it is the only mosque in the world to contain a temple. Over a decade ago, Sai Baba repaired this old mosque. Every religion is represented among the pilgrims who pay their respects to the holy saint.
  • Dixit Wada Museum: Located in Shirdi, this museum displays some of Sai Baba's things and other memorabilia from his life. It has some of Sai Baba's kitchenware, robes, phonograph recordings, and leather padukas (footwear), as well as some very rare photographs of Sai Baba and his early pupils, which are placed on the walls of his home. It is possible to get intriguing insights into his humble and religious life by paying a visit to this location. The museum is housed inside the Sai Baba Sansthan Trust and is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free here. To enter the museum, there is no admission price.
  • Sai Heritage Village: This is a village set-up designed to imitate Shirdi as it existed a century ago. It allows tourists to feel what it was like to live in Shirdi during the time of Sai Baba. Located less than 4km from the centre of town, this is an ideal location to spend an afternoon if you want some peace. His life is depicted in models and sculptures on exhibit in the museum. More information may be found here.

Read more about - Four best reasons to go on a spiritual trip to the Shirdi

Best places to stay in Shirdi

Multiple hotels and guesthouses have sprouted up in Shirdi to accommodate the large number of pilgrims that come to this holy place each year. The rooms provided by the Sri Sai Sansthan itself are the most convenient option for anyone seeking a place to stay. These must be reserved at least one month before your arrival to ensure availability and may be done so here. Rooms at Sai Sansthan are available in air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned configurations, with rates ranging from INR 200 to INR 900. Other lodging options include:

  • Hotel Bhagyalaxmi: This establishment solely provides double-occupancy air-conditioned rooms. Madhuprabha, the hotel's in-house restaurant, serves 'Indo-Chinese' cuisine and is located on the premises. It is situated in a prominent location in town, barely 300m from the Baba Samadhi Mandir, about 12 km from the airport, and 1.5km from the train station.
  • Daiwik Hotels, Shirdi: This hotel provides air-conditioned rooms in standard, superior, family deluxe and junior suites. It also offers an on-site spa – Vyom, a banquet and conference centre – Varta, and a vegetarian restaurant – Ahaan, which serves a variety of cuisines. Daiwik, in addition to offering conventional services, also provides a fee-based taxi service via a partnership with Uber. The central position of Daiwik is 13km from the airport, 3km from the train station, and less than 500m from the Sai Baba Samadhi Mandir. It adds to the ease of staying here.
  • Marigold Residency: This hotel provides two double occupancy choices: superior and superior deluxe AC Rooms. Superior Deluxe AC Rooms are the most luxurious of the two alternatives. This property has a multi-cuisine vegetarian restaurant - The Tulip - on the premises, which is considered one of the most pleasant places to dine in Shirdi. In addition to the usual facilities, Marigold provides a free carriage service for those travelling to and from the temple and train station. The hotel is a little over a km away from the significant temple, 3km away from the train station, and 15km away from the airport.

Travel Suggestions

  • You might take a day trip to Shani Shignapur on your route from Shirdi to Pune. Lord Shani is claimed to live in this hamlet disguised as a black stone, and the locals adore him by offering him oil.
  • The residents of this hamlet have no doors because they think Lord Shani is watching over and safeguarding their belongings. It's also one of those locations where you may have a direct encounter with God, and the mood is downright effervescent with hope.
  • You should also make a point of visiting the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, which are also highly recommended. The architectural magnificence of these caverns has earned them a place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

How to reach Shirdi?

Shirdi is well-linked to most major Indian cities, and you may travel to and from Shirdi by road, train or air. The following modes of transportation are available:

  • By road:Shirdi is 83km from Ahmednagar, 307km from Mumbai, 112km from Nashik, and 126km from Aurangabad. The majority of the country's roadways are in good shape, albeit the heavy traffic of buses and zig-zagging tourist taxis may be stressful in some areas.
  • By rail: Through the railway system, Shirdi is well-connected to a number of several important cities in South and Western India, including Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.
  • By air: Flying to Shirdi is the most reasonable mode of transportation. The Sri Sai Baba International Airport is around 15km from the Samadhi Mandir, which lies in the city's heart. There are daily flights between Mumbai and Shirdi provided by operating non-stop flights to Shirdi from Delhi and Hyderabad to Shirdi. Additionally, IndiGo flight routes have scheduled flights from Vijayawada to Shirdi.
  • Using a helicopter: SkyAviation provides a heli-taxi service between Mumbai's Juhu Airport and the Shirdi district. You will be transported to Shirdi and return on a helicopter with seating for six people on the same day. The package includes a VIP darshan as well as transportation throughout Shirdi. The cost of the charter for a group of six people is INR 3.3 lakh (including taxes).

Climate at Shirdi

Shirdi's temperature fluctuates from 15 to 22˚C in October and November but decreases to 10˚C in December and 8˚C in January. The average high temperature in December and January is 15˚C, making Shirdi's climate pleasant and warm throughout these months.

Shirdi has a humid and hot environment, with temperatures ranging between 40˚C and 20˚C at their highest and lowest points. People try to avoid coming during the warmer months of April and May when the weather is at its best.

During the monsoon, the temperature drops below 30˚C and then rises to 35˚C for the rest of the day. June to August are usually the dry months with little rain, making them ideal for travel and visiting an Ashram.

Best time to visit

The optimum time to visit Shirdi is between November and February. It all depends on whether you want to travel at the most favourable times of the year or whether you want to have some peace while you are there. The holiday months of September to December are the busiest in Shirdi, with most people flocking to the city for Dussehra and Diwali celebrations. According to the Marathi calendar, other high-volume periods include the days before and after school exams, Holi, Guru Purnima and Gudi Padwa, which marks the beginning of the new year.

Final Takeaways

  • If you do not like crowds, stay away from Thursdays. Thursday is considered Baba's day, and it is the busiest day of the week, with groups forming from dawn to nightfall.
  • There are no hard and fast rules for dressing in Shirdi, as there are in other places. However, because this is a sacred site, it is recommended that you dress in a way that covers your shoulders and knees out of respect.
  • According to some reports, the waiting time in the darshan queues has been known to exceed 3-4 hours before each aarti. At times, the audience may get agitated and disorderly due to their impatience. Maintain a high level of alertness and anticipate all eventualities.
  • Phones, cameras and other electronic devices are not permitted to be brought within the main temple complex. You may leave things in the lockers outside if you like.
  • Make an effort to reserve your accommodations and darshan online ahead of time to ensure a stress-free experience
  • If you want wheelchair assistance, these are provided at no charge at Gate 5.
  • The lesser-known truth is that Shirdi is one of India's significant exporters of fruits, ranking third in the country. Make sure to sample the fresh grapes, guavas and pomegranates cultivated on the property.

Conclusion

Make sure that you are prepared in advance before going. Mark all the points and give the best shot while travelling. Enjoy the place to the fullest, and have the best experience in Shirdi.

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