Shirdi is a small holy town located near the city of Nasik in the state of Maharashtra. The lure of this town is so intense that even the most demanding visitor will be impressed by its irresistible appeal. Shirdi is a must visit for the religious tourists since it was the abode of noted Saint Sai Baba, who used to reside here. A huge number of pious devotees flock in to Shirdi to seek the blessings of Sai Baba, believed to cure incurable diseases. A strange mystic aura seems to exude from here that is simply enchanting and thus tourism in Shirdi has also experienced considerable growth.
This charming town is dotted with many religious sites that are visited by many tourists no matter to which religion they belong to. The most prominent among the tourist attractions in Shirdi is the Sai Baba mandir (temple) and his samadhi (memorial).
A wealthy devotee of Sai Baba, Shreemant Gopalrao Buti from Nagpur built this temple in 1917-1918. He wished to install the idol of Muralidhar (a Hindu deity) here, but Sai Baba himself became the deity and after he passed away, his Samadhi (memorial) was built here using white marble. This temple is also known as Sai Baba Temple and features exquisite silver pillars ornamented with elaborate designs. In front of this temple is an assembly hall that can accommodate 600 devotees and a part of the hall showcases different things used by Sai Baba during his lifetime. It is one of the prime tourist attractions in Shirdi and is frequented by numerous tourists all the year round.
This mosque was used as a residence when Sai Baba came to Shirdi for the second time. It is located on the right side of the entry point of Sai Mandir. This mosque occupies an indispensable position among the sacred spots of Shirdi and those visiting the temple inevitably pay a visit to this mosque. In the mosque you will come across the shila (stone), once used by Baba to sit. It is quite fascinating to note that the holy fire that Sai Baba used to light is still burning.
This place holds immense significance among the things to watch in Shirdi since it is this place where Sai Baba came as a child ascetic and sat in deep contemplation under a Neem tree. Subsequently, this place came to be recognized as Gurusthan and was also once renovated. Located at this place is a small shrine, featuring a huge portrait of Sai Baba on an elevated platform.
It is this place where Sai Baba used to sleep after returning from a procession from Dwarkamai to Chawadi. Every Thursday, a procession is carried out to Chavadi carrying the possessions of Sai Baba such as Baba's Photo, Holy Padukas (footwear) and Satka.
It is a famous garden that Sai Baba used to visit daily, for watering the plants. The garden also houses a Neem tree under which he used to take rest. Adjacent to this tree is Nandadeep, a diya (lamp) that used to be lit by Baba each day in the pit dug by him. Nowadays, this pit has been transformed into a marble deepgriha (lighthouse), having a glass box where the lamp is still burning. Several other highlights of this garden are Datta Mandir (samadhi of Sai Baba's horse, Sham Sundar) and Baba's Shivdi.
Samadhi of Abdulbaba:
Abdulbaba was one of the most ardent followers of Sai Baba, who used to read out the Quran to him. Nearby Shri Sai Baba Temple, his Samadhi (memorial) is located. It is one of the prime tourist attractions in Shirdi that houses photos and various items that were once handled by Sai Baba and him.
This temple was of special significance to Sai Baba and he used to come here religiously on a regular basis. Several satsangs (religious sermons) were also conducted here with the assistance of Devidas, who happened to be a bal yogi (young devout).
Make sure that you have sufficient time in hand for exploring all the attractions when you travel to Shirdi.