Mumbai – Shirdi

1320729047_6Shirdi is a small village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The small village is 100 km from Nashik. It is today a hustling pilgrimage center of India. Shirdi was the home of Sai Baba, the great saint of the 20th century. The saint lived in Shirdi for more than 50 years of his life. He made the small village a big pilgrimage site for devotees. Devotees throng from all over the world.  Sai Baba entered this village when he was 16 years of age. He appeared under a neem tree and was engaged in a hard self-mortification. The saint devoted his entire life for the upliftment of the poor and the suffering. The saint’s origin and early life are covered in enigma. He is believed to be an embodiment of lord Shiva. The whole village and every corner of it have some association with the great saint. The great saint left for heavenly abode in 1918 and his Samadhi is visited by thousands of tourists even today.  The place where Sai Baba came to Shirdi as a Bal Yogi is known as Gurusthan. There is a temple at this site and a small shrine in Gurusthan. The small town of Shirdi is full of fragrance with the devotional intensity of devotees from across the world. The hamlet is placed highly on the world map of spirituality.

 

Shirdi and Sai Baba are quite the same and the fact that almost every hotel or shop prefixes a ‘Sai’ to its name proves it. And why not? After all, where else could you find a faith so strong that could even light lamps from water! Give yourself a moment or two to think and reflect how it would have been for the saint who arrived with a marriage party in 1858 and stayed back. And turned this tiny village into a throbbing spiritual town. Visit the Samadhi ground of Sai Baba, or Baba, as he is lovingly called. Sway to the beats of drums and the rhythmic chants of the priests who waken Baba with the kakad aarti everyday and bathe him in milk and rose water before the daily round of devotees pour in to seek His blessings for the day. Shirdi lacks any of the usual touristy attractions, but visit it only to feel the saint’s presence at every corner of the town.

While the whole world recognizes the powers and miracles performed by Sai Baba, one of his earliest evidences was the lighting of lamps with water. Baba was said to have lit lamps everyday at the temples in Shirdi. For this, he used to borrow oil from the local grocers. However, once the grocers refused to give him oil for free and instead told him that they had no fresh stocks. But the temples were not to remain in the dark. So Baba filled the earthen lamps with water and to everyone’s utter surprise, those lamps burned way till midnight!

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