Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shirdi : A simple - effective guide with practical tips for pilgrimage.

Om Sai Ram,

In reply to the post of video of Shirdi Railway Station i got the following query from subscriber. I am sure there must be many first time visitors who have the same questions in mind. So I am writing a post that would be helpful for the first time visitors to Shirdi.

Some Tips and a sort of simple guide which covers most essentials for Shirdi visit

No travel Guru, travel package provider will give you so many tips, mostly if it's a pilgrimage. A visit to sacred shrine and a lover and devotee of Baba who want's to know the details of each sacred place associated with Baba.

For Online booking :

For your online booking for Hotels, Flights, Railways tickets, buses, cars on rent you can check out with following website and compare the prices for best online booking experience Clear Trip Travel Service, Travel Guru , Travelocity , Yatra ,

Do you know ? The prophetic words of Sai Baba about Shirdi century back.

The query had few questions like

Nearest railway stations if the train to Shirdi is not available from your city.

Accommodation and food. Reaching there with minimum cost and convenience.

Om Sai Ram,

Below are essential tips and guide to Shirdi visit, It covers most topics to make your trip a pleasurable and divine experience with minimum hassles.

How to reach Shirdi ?

From Mumbai you can travel through bus, road and railways.

Reaching Shirdi via Railway

However you can make a search on Indian railways website, for availability and online railway ticket booking. There is a search train option which you can use. From your city (any city within India) you can choose for Shirdi railway station the code for the same is SHIRDI O A (SAIO).

The nearest railway stations are 1. Kopergaon (16 kilometer in distance) often spelt as Kopergaun (this spelling is not available on railway site) the code for same to make a search on Indian railway booking site is KOPARGAON (KPG). Another nearest railway Statio is Manmad code for the same is MANMAD JN (MMR) (60 kilometers in distance ). So that solves the problem for finding a train from one destination to Shirdi railway station or the nearest railway stations in India.

Via Bus or road

Another option to travel to Shirdi is by Bus. There are bus service provider all around India for the same and it is the most widely used mode of transportation from earlier days until these days. Things might change once the trains starts arriving at Shirdi Railway Station.

Traveling from Major cities like Mumbai , Pune, Ahmednagar, (Maharashtra)
or cities like Surat, Baroda and Ahmedabad the best route available is traveling by road. So the trip can be your car, a taxi or bus.

Shirdi location and map will be quite helpful for Shirdi visit via road. These days with the smart phones you can always look for few alternate route maps on google map if you are travelling by private vehicle.

Below is the list of cities nearest to Shirdi with railway connections and airports from all part of country. From these cities, bus services and taxi services are easily available to travel to Shirdi.

Distance from Mumbai by road is about 300 kms ( distance varies from various destinations like railway station, domestic airport, international airport)

Distance from Nashik  is 100 kilometers (Has Domestic Airport)

Distance from Ahmednagar is 100 kilometers (Has Domestic Airport)

Distance for Aurangabad is 120 Kilometers (Has Domestic Airport)

Distance from Pune is 220 kilometers (Has Domestic Airport)

Cheap Accommodation in Shirdi. 

For cheap (not exactly cheap, Sri Saibaba Sansthan, Trust Shirdi, provides more facilities for the cost paid than any other hotels or guest houses) accommodation there are many provided by Sansthan, Trust, check the same at sansthan's web site's accomodation page for complete details.

Shri Saibab Sansthan has many options for low-budget yet comfortable stay :

  • INR (Indian Rupees)
  • Dwaravati : Non A.C. rooms for INR 500 for 3 persons and A.C. rooms for INR 1000SaiBaba new Bhakta Niwas (500 rooms) : Has a range of rooms costing INR 13, 30, 50 and 100 per person some includes A.C. rooms.
  • Dharamshala : About INR 21 per person.
  • Seva Dham : about INR 50 per person
  • SaiNath Chaya Hall : Is a huge hall for group of people INR 1000 for 50 people.
  • Shantiniketan : About INR 150 to 200 per room.
  • Sai Nivas (V. I. P rooms) : Rs. 800 per room INR 200 for additional adult. 
  • Sai Udiyan : INR 50 for 4 persons, INR 100 for 50 person room, A hall INR 400 for 50 persons.
  • Similarly Sai Prasad1 and 2 : giving excellent deals. 

The rooms provided by Sansthan cannot be booked in advance but are given on first come first serve basis. Shirdi Sai Sansthan however books the room for the padyatris (group of devotees traveling on feet from their cities, carrying the Palkhi of Sai Baba) in advance, those devotees also don't have to wait in queue for Darshan at Samadhi Temple.

Tips on booking a hotel after reaching there

If you cannot get accommodation in Sansthan's accommodations , there are lots and lots of hotels and guest houses. Visit few, and find the best that fits your budget. There you might face many touts claiming to book a hotel or guest house for you. Even the bus service provider might try to persuade to book a hotel for your stay. Do not rely on any one, first have a look yourself, for all the facilities and cleanliness that the hotel or guest house provides. Only after that choose a room for your stay.

Best would be to rent a place to stay near Samadhi Temple or Dwarkamai.

Don't Don't Don't listen to people gathering around you to provide help to you, just ignore them.

Guide for Samadhi Darshan
Speaking of que for Samadhi Darshan Temple there are ample facilities for the same. Devotees in queue are well taken care of.

Passes for Senior citizens (old age) or sick people

Facilities for sitting are found ever few meters. For old age visitors, children and sick people. Senior citizens and physically impaired people can ask for direct darshan passes from Sansthan, which means they don't have to pass through the waiting of standing in queue for long time. These passes can be obtained from the office near Lendi Baagh.

Also every few meters one finds fans to cool the body, as well as TV sets providing the darshan of Samdahi Temple are always in view. Good devotional music with Sai Baba Bhajans or mantra chanting can be herd all the time. Immediate refreshments like water, tea, coffee, biscuits are available at very cheap rates every few meters.

However on three major festivals of Shirdi 1. Ram Navami, 2. Guru Poornima and Vijaya Dashmi or Dussera or Baba's Mahasamadhi day. This sacred place is crowded to Suffocation. If you plan to visit, on one of these these festival days make bookings of Hotels and travel, well in advance.

While you go for Darshan in the Temple people would gather around claiming to help you out in getting the darshan soon. It does not happen. What happens is, you end up buying pooja articles like garland at much higher cost then available at other shops. So if you require any help Sri Saibaba Sansthan, Trust's office would be the best place to visitIf you want to buy books, puja articles Sansthan's book store and Sansthan's stores located around the Samadhi Temple are the best spots to check out first.

Some tips and guidelines for spiritual places closely connected with Sai Baba in Shirdi. 

Along with the other details asked i will like to add few more details. Most people take the darshan in Samadhi Temple and that's all for them. There are few more important places associated with Sai Baba like Dwarkamai, Chavadi Gurusthan (Clicking on the links provided will take you to the pages which tries to give more details about each sacred places). You can also check out what to buy in Shirdi.

There are two very good books with details of Shirdi published one is : ambrosia in Shirdi (link will take to online version of book) This book is must for first time visitors as well as those visiting again and again. One will find details of important places to visit in and around Shirdi.

Another good book written with details  is experiencing Sai Baba's Shirdi, by Allision Williams. One can read the same online from the link provided.

Both these books with essential guidance, are available in various stores in Shirdi, so grab them while you are there.

One thing these books might not have is the Museum in Shirdi. It has been built after this books were published. The museum displays articles used by Sai Baba. So do not forget to visit the Museum, it's near Gurusthan.

Spiritual places to visit near Shirdi

Three sacred places i would not miss are

  • 1. Meher Baba's Samadhi (About 100 kiolmeters in distance to Ahmednagar) Checkout road map to Ahmednagar from Shirdi
  • 2. Tomb of Zar Zari Zarbaksh in Khuldabad(about 120 kms in distance, very near to Ellora caves (towards Aurangabad ), a famous tourist destination) don't forget the cave nearby if you visit there. 
  • 3. Sakori - Ashram of Upasni Baba (5 kilometers in distance (takes about 10 minutes by road )). For traveling from Shirdi there are many travel agencies operating there. Check with few of them to make decision. Ignore people pulling you towards a particular travel operator.

Food in Shirdi

Another tip is not to miss the food provided at prasadalaya where simple food as prasad of Baba is served. Devotees and visitors can eat unlimited food (rice, vegetables, dal, rice and a sweet) at nominal cost per person. The food is cooked in hygienic environment and most of the food is cooked using solar energy (good for global environment). The capacity of prasadalaya is huge and 100,000 people can dine in a single day. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Otherwise there are loads and loads of restaurants and food joints serving different kind of food. You might visit few and sit for meal according to your choice.

Luxurious Hotels in Shirdi : 

Good luxrious hotel recommended for those provided with much money and does not mind spending them are listed below. I have stayed in the first three.

Short list of places to visit in Shirdi (details given in online books above)

List of other Temples (Mandir) 

1. The three temples (Lord Ganesh, Shani Temple and Shiva Temple) very near to Samadhi Temple. Sai Baba often gave money for repairs of these temples.

2. Khandoba Temple

3. Mahalaxmi Temple

4. Hanuman Temple (on the way left from Dwarkamai to Chavdi)

5. Narshima Temple

6. Jain Temple

7. The five Samadhis (Abdul Baba, Tatya Kote Patil, Nanavali, Bhau Maharaj Kumbhar, V. P. Iyer)

List of houses of Sai Baba devotees in Shirdi

1. Abdul Baba's house

2. Laxmibai Side's house

3. Bhagoji Sinde's house

4. Bhagt Mhalsapati (also spelt Mahalsapati) house

5. Shama's house

and list of 5 houses from where Sai Baba regularly begged for food.

1. Vaman Gondkar
2. Vaman Shakhram Shelke
3. Baijabai Tatya Kote Patil
4. Bayaji Appa Kote Patil
5. Nandaram Marwadi

Daily routine Programme of Shri Saibaba Temple

Bhupali Arati 4.15 AM
Kakad Aarti 4.30 AM
Holi Bath of Shri Sai Baba 5.00 AM
Darshan Begins 7.00 AM
Satyanarayan Pooja 8.00 AM, 10.00 AM
Abhishek 9.00 AM
Mid - Day Noon Aarti 12.00
Dhup Aarti Sun Set
Shej Aarti 10.00 PM
Mandir Closes after Shej arati

Every Thursday at 9.15 p.m. Sai Baba's Palakhi Utsav Programme

You can
plus download audio mp3 files of all Aartis and chants played in the Samadhi Temple.
plus get the lyrics of all the aartis sung in Sai Baba Temple


Anonymous said...

Great Job, It will be very helpful for people who would want to visit shirdi for the first time.

Anonymous said...

pregnent ladies is alowed in gate

Anonymous said...

May Sai Baba bless you.
Thanks & Regards,

Anonymous said...

Jai Sairam. For NRI visitors , you can get the vip pass for Rs.100 in the main gate. Just show your driver license, they will provide a pass and then you can directly go for darshan.

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece of information.So kind of you to provide valuable information.May Sai bhagwan bless you.
With love

Anonymous said...

I want to stay in Shiridi for a week and i want the web-site details to book room in the temple accommodation please anybody give me the details? Jeyvilasinee Natarajan, Chennai

Anonymous said...

Are devotees allowed in the temple during aarati's? I am eager to watch kakad and madhyan aarati at shirdi but do not know if people are allowed at that time or not

Alpesh Patel said...

Yes, devotees are allowed during all Aaratis. If you want to attend them you can obtain passes from the Sansthan's office. Or will have to see the queue. And reach accordingly well in advance. You can also buy passes for arati online see this post Website booking darshan passes in Shirdi . Even with passes you will have to reach at the given gate approximately 1 hour before arati time.

Anonymous said...

i want to know the distances from shirdi to ghrushneswar temple by taxi.

what is last time for last aarti in the night on saturdays.

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