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Shirdi Tourism And Travel Guide
15.6° C / 60° F
January to January
1 to 2 Days
Shirdi International Airport (14 kms)
Sainagar Shirdi Railway Station (3 kms)
Shirdi or Sainagar is a small town located in the Rahata Taluk of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. Shirdi was home to the 19th century saint Shirdi Sai Baba, who drew people to him with his love for all living creatures and his profess that all religions and all Gods are one. People of different religions and faiths throng to the town of Shirdi, to pay their homage at the Samadhi of the saint. The Sri Saibaba Sansthan Trust that manages the temple runs super speciality hospitals, has accommodation and drinking water facilities, schools and free meals in the Prasadalaya for the benefit of the devotees that arrive at Shirdi.
Beyond Shirdi there are small towns and cities like Shani Shingnapur, Ahmednagar and Nashik where you would find ancient temples, monuments and forts that are worth visiting. About a hundred kilometres away from Shirdi are quaint hill stations like Bhandardara and Igatpuri that are lush and verdant with misty mountain peaks of the Sahyadri, waterfalls and pristine streams which promise adventure tourism including trekking and all kinds of water sports.
If you are planning a pilgrimage and holiday tour to Shirdi, our travel and tourism guide should help you plan a great trip.
How to Reach
Shirdi is about 200 kilometres from both Mumbai and Pune. Shirdi has emerged a very significant town in the temple map of India and is easily accessible by air, rail or road. The ideal way to reach Shirdi would be by rail.
Shirdi Sai Baba International Airport at Kakadi, near Shirdi has domestic flights from most cities of India. There are taxi and government run bus outside the airport that could be used to reach the Samadhi Mandir. The nearest International airport is at Pune that has both domestic flights as well as international flights to Sharjah, Dubai, Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi.
Sainagar Shirdi Railway Station at Shirdi has daily and weekly rail services to most cities of the country. There are regular transport vehicles outside the station, as well as the buses that are arranged for shuttle service from and to the railway station to the Mandir.
You can avail of private and state run buses to Shirdi from all over Maharashtra. There are also interstate buses that run to Shirdi from Indore, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Driving to Shirdi is yet another preferred option of reaching the town by road.
Local transport is readily available around town, so you could make use of the local buses, the share autos or auto rickshaws to get around. For longer distances you could hire a cab for a day’s trip.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Though Shirdi has the typical weather conditions of hot summers, rainy monsoons and cool winters, pilgrims and tourists visit Shirdi throughout the year. But the ideal months to visit are from October to February.
Summer (March – May):
Summers are hot and not very touristy. But summer is the preferred time for people who visit Shirdi as well as plan for a trip to the hill stations nearby. Shirdi gets busy for the Ram Navami festival in the Mandir.
Monsoon (June – September):
There are intermittent to heavy rains. Monsoons are not the in time to visit Shirdi, but the town does get colourfully crowded for the Guru Pournima festival.
Winter (October – February):
Winters have pleasant days and cold nights. The days are cool and breezy and are the right time to visit the temples in Shirdi and beyond and do some exploration of the countryside, not to mention a trip to the hill stations.
Things to Do
Temples at Bhandardara:
A picturesque little hill station, Bhandardara promises a tranquil tryst with nature. Visit the Amruteshwara temple for Shiva or go for a leisurely stroll on the banks of the Pravara mountain river, said to have been sent by the Gods as a stream from the Ganga River, in order to please Sage Agasthya, who had spent years of meditation at Bhandardara.
Malshej Ghat Treks:
Malshej Ghat with several waterfalls, picturesque dams and the most spectacular landcape is bound to be a delightful place to visit for nature lovers and trekkers. Go bird watching at Pimpelgaon Joga Dam, trek up Ajoba Hill Fort, Darkoba Peak or Harishchandragad Fort and visit the ancient Vishnu temple and Buddhist Caves.
Dhamma Giri Meditation Centre:
Dhamma Giri or the Hill of Dhamma, considered one of the world’s largest meditation centres is situated in the picturesque hill station of Igatpuri. Learn Vipassana, the ancient technique of meditation, charged by the verdant beauty of the Western Ghats.
Shirdi Sai Museum ought to be a must visit in your trip to Shirdi. The museum displays rare photographs of Shirdi Baba along with his personal belongings including the kafni worn by him and the clay water pot that the saint had used. The museum is a reverential memory of Shirdi Sai Baba.
Parks and Gardens:
After darshan at the Samadhi Mandir is over, spend some quality time to relax in the amusement parks and gardens dotted around in Shirdi. Most of the parks offer a wholesome entertainment for the family with fun rides, water sports, and thematic 5 D shows on the mythologies of India as well as the life of Shirdi Sai Baba.
Shirdi Baba’s garden:
There is a quiet little part of the Shirdi Sai Baba temple that Sai Baba loved to visit. He would sit under the neem and peepul trees he had planted and spend a few daily hours in solitude. Check out the Lendi Baug garden in Shirdi, which also houses the tomb of Shirdi Sai Baba’s house Shyamkarna.
Festivals at Shirdi:
Shirdi follows a tradition of religious and communal festivities established during the period of Shirdi Sai Baba. You could join at the Jholi parampara at the Maha Samadhi, daily offerings by Abdul Baba and Baraoke families, Urs and Rama Navami.
Abdul Baba's Cottage:
Check out some of the existing houses where some of Shirdi Sai Baba’s devotees lived. Abdul Baba’s cottage opposite the Chavadi is a room where Abdul Baba spent the last of his years. There is a pair of chimtas on display, said to have been given by Sai Baba to Abdul Baba.
A Trip to Ahmednagar:
If you are keen on visiting historical places similar to ancient monuments and forts, take a trip to Ahmednagar. There are a number of heritage structures that go back ages ago, like the Ahmednagar Fort, Farah Baug, Ahmednagar Fort Museum and Chandbibi Mahal.
Panchamukha Vishnu Ganpati Mandir:
Maha Vishnu is considered the protector of Shirdi and Ganpati the first and foremost amongst all Gods. Pilgrims visit the Panchamukha Vishnu Ganpati mandir before they visit the Samadhi Mandir of Shirdi Sai Baba. Panchamukha Vishnu Ganpati is believed to be a wish fulfilling deity and pilgrims who get their wishes fulfilled always return for thanksgiving. Call on the Panchamukha Vishnu Ganpati temple to have the darshan of the unique form of the God.
Usually pilgrims prefer eating the wholesome food that is served as prasad in the Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan’s Prasadalaya, which is a huge hall which can seat thousands of people at a time and serves a traditional meal of rotis, dal, rice, vegetables and a sweet for lunch and a simple breakfast of pooris with vegetables and a sweet for breakfast at nominal rates. There are separate halls where food is served for free, as well. You could finish off your meal at the Prasadalaya with boondhi ladoos that are sold at the Sai Baba temple office, within the temple complex. Made of gram flour and sugar, with dollops of ghee and a generous sprinkling of nuts and raisins, the Boondhi Ladoo is a hot favourite amongst the pilgrims.
In the restaurants you could get to savour Maharashtrian, North Indian and Gujarathi thali meals as well as Chinese and Continental food. Out in the street stalls you could get vada pav, bhel puris, hot peanuts, channa masala which is one of the hot favourites of the tourists that are on a stroll along the lanes of Shirdi.
With thousands of pilgrims and tourists visiting Shirdi, the bylanes of the town’s tiny markets do a brisk sale of the figurines of Shirdi Sai Baba, that tourists buy as a sort of keepsake for themselves and people back home. You would find statues in a variety of sizes and colours made of wood, clay, marble or fibre ones.
You could also check out the portraits of Sai Baba, along with items of devotion, like rosaries, pretty decorative pieces like bead malas or dry flower garlands and tiny gem studded crowns for the figurine of Shirdi Sai Baba you might be buying, joss sticks, books on Sai Baba and as well as bright shawls that can be bought to be offered at the Samadhi Mandir. Most of the shops are near the Mandir and you could explore them on foot. Some of the favourite foody stuff that can be bought to be taken back home are guavas, pomegranates and boondhi ladoos.