Friday, November 2, 2007
Shirdi Sai Baba Palkhi in Surat
Surat city in Gujarat State, India (my hometown), has so many dedicated devotees of Sai Baba. I remember last year just after Diwali festivals, while we were returning from Shirdi, for about 200 kilometers, constantly we could see Palkhi Yatris.
Palkhi yatris are the devotees, who prepare Palkhi of Sai Baba, put and image of Sai Baba in it and carry the Palkhi to Shirdi. All the devotees walk their way to Shirdi, carrying the Palkhi, chanting the name of Sai Baba and Sai Mantras and singing Sai Baba Bhajans on the way.
Truly Sai Baba's presence is felt strongly in the Palkhi. I have experienced it a number of times. My mother accidentally, happened to find herself, this Dussera day in front of local Palkhi (described later in this post). She told me, as she touched the Palkhi, which happened to be in front of her, as she came outside the jewelery shop, after buying some gold on auspicious Dussera festival. She went and bowed to the picture of Shirdi Sai in the Palkhi, and could feel some great sensations, in emotions and body.
Recently, have come in contact with many Sai Baba devotees in Surat. An example of how like minded people happen to meet. Seeing each one's devotion and services to Sai Baba in different ways, just fills the heart with joy. Few of these devotees have been to the Palkhi yatras to Shirdi. And they are so happy narrating their experiences during the pada yatra (pilgimage on feet).
Estimated 10,000 people from Surat do the Pada Yatra, or rather Palkhi Yatra ( Pilgrimage on Feet, lifting the Palkhi with the image of Sai Baba. Surat to Shirdi is a little more than 300 kilometers in distance.
There were number of local Palkhi yatras, within the city of Surat on the day of Dussera ( 21st October 2007, Sunday ), Palkhi is initiated from one temple of Shirdi Sai Baba and the processioned moves, with chanting and bhajans of Sai Baba with music. Moves around in the city on it's respective decided route to end at another Sai Baba temple.
There was one grand one. A huge Sai Baba idol(see the picture with this post) was made for this procession. There were number of idols of other Gods, starting with Shree Ganesha's idol. There were also many more idols of Shirdi Sai Baba, displaying some events that took place in Shirdi, as described in Shri Sai SatCharitra.
The huge idol of Sai Baba was the central attraction. For most devotees, not just for the size of the idol, but it brought tears in eyes of most of the devotees. Most of the devotees, including me, felt something mystical while watching the idol. I learned yesterday that it is supposed to be taken with a Palkhi yatra to Shirdi, in few days, just after Diwali.
About this idol, i came to know about it a day before Dussera, when it entered the city. A freind of mine, who is a dedicated devotee of Shree Sai Baba, gave me a call. He and one other friend of his also a devotee, happened to see this idol at the boundary of Surat city. He told me that a huge Sai baba idol has entered our city and he and his friend cannot help stopping excited about it. All the hairs on their body were standing. They remained with the idol, until it reached it's destination.
They inquired about the idol, learned that it was made by an artist in Baroda city ( about 200 kms from Surat), drove their way to Baroda and ordered for a idol of about 7 feet in height also to be taken with a Palkhi Yatra to Shirdi.
Posted by Alpesh Patel