Summary: Shirdi is a small town located in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. It is a famous pilgrimage center of India as it is home to the shrine of 19th century sage Sai Baba. Simply head to this quiet-religious town and relish a relaxing-memorable holiday.
Body: Shirdi, the holy town in the Indian state of Maharashtra, where lies the holy shrine of Shirdi Shiri Sai Baba, is one of the most revered destinations in India. It is the abode of Sai Baba and is the place where he spent most of his lifetime, including the last few days before he passed away in 1918. There exists a temple housing the last mortal remains of the sage, and is known as the Samadhi Mandir. The temple is perhaps the very heart of everything in Shirdi. It owns immense reverence amongst the Sai devotees and pilgrims. There are often long queues of pilgrims and people in front of the temple, just to get a glimpse of the sage’s remains.
Shirdi is a small town, falling under the jurisdictions of Shirdi Nagar Panchayat. It is a tranquil-leafy verdant place and is also an ideal stop-over to other popular heritage & tourists sites, such as Ajanta and Ellora caves, Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, and Khandala etc. However, before you head to any of these nearby destinations, it is ideal to spare 2-3 days in Shirdi as there are certain attractions in the town that you will not want to miss.
Shirdi is one of the destinations in India that receive waves of visitors year-long, of which the major part is formed up of pilgrims. The presence of Sai Baba is prominent in everything: from the narrow streets to the revered temples and religious sites. The influence of the sage can even be seen in the lifestyle of the locals. It can be said the religion is huge here. It is the beating heart of the Sai universe. On your tour of the town, the Gurusthan is one ideal place to start your exploration with. It is the very place where Sai Baba came to the town as Bal Yogi. There is a huge portrait of the saint in the place, in front of which is an incense that burns day-night.
Chavadi is the next place to visit. It is believed that on every alternate night Sai Baba visited the place and spent the night there. There is the Asan, that is seat on which he used to sit, a wheelchair, and a wooden plank. Before his funeral, Sai Baba was bathed here the last time. Other than these, the other religious places to visit in Shirdi include: Khandoba Temple, Lendi Bagh, Dwarakamayee Masjid, and Chawri. There also exists an excellent museum, called the Dixit Wada Museum. It is located at the centre of Sansthan zone and contains informational relics and remnants of the life of Sai Baba.
Though, the town is flocked with visitors throughout the year, however the best time for Shirdi tour is during the time of festivals. Make sure that you book the hotels in Shirdi and travel in advance, as there will be hordes of tourists in these times. Also do not miss the food offered by the prasadalaya. It is very simple food that are served as the prasads from Sai Baba. Finally, one can hire cabs to get around the town, but exploring the town on foot is the best thing to do.