Travel Guide For First Time Tourists To Shirdi
In my last blog post on Shirdi Sai Baba & The Temple: Divinity All Around, I mentioned in brief about about how Shri SaiBaba got discovered and how then His popularity grew on the basis of an increase in peoples’ faith in Him. In this post, I will give a super informative Travel Guide for First Time Tourists to Shirdi. Are you visiting Shirdi for the first time ? Which season to come ? What shopping can you really do ? What about the accommodation ? Here’s the travel guide you need.
Travel Guide & Tips on Shirdi
(Photo Courtesy: Panoramio Tapan Mallick)
- When you arrive in Shirdi and are planning to stay back, you may want to look at the accommodation facility being built by the Shirdi Temple Authorities for all devotees. The stay facility can be obtained after registering your name & other particulars. Deposit is not required. There are different classes of rooms to cater to people namely from Basic rooms to AC ones. Lock your respective room when venturing out. If your accommodation is in the common hall, special care needs to be taken. You can also book room online from here.
- Private hotels and guest houses are also available for all classes of people, ranging from budget INR 500 to high-end INR 8,000 per night. I personally found hotels in the range of INR 2,500-3,000 as pretty good, with all the required facilities & service etc. Below this figure, there is always a risk you are taking.
- Care needs to be taken that all your belongings are not left unattended, including in Washroom and Toilets.
Shopping @ Shirdi
(Credit: Flickr/NageshKamath/CC BY-SA 2.0)
The only travel guide and tip with regards to shopping in Shirdi is that there are no shopping malls like you find in big cities. However, you can find a lot of small shops selling you anything and everything under the sun. Majorly obviously the Sai Baba idols and related stuff but there are quite a handful of items available for you to explore. Negotiate hard. Beware the pickpocketers though.
Weather and Best Time To Visit
- If you actually ask me, I will say anytime is the best time to pray, if you are doing it with faith & belief. Then, the fact that there are just too many people standing in queue should not matter.
- However for the sake of answering in case you still want to know, I will say the winter months are better than the others. During summer season, the weather is very hot and the schools are also closed, meaning people across India travel to their respective places during this time, including to Shirdi. Results in a lot of crowd.
- On Thursdays, Public Holidays and Festivals, the temple is crowded by default.
- If your Darshan ends within 2 hours, please thank GOD and consider yourself very lucky. My average time of waiting in the queue for the 6-7 times I have been here, has been around 5-6 hours.
How To Reach
(Source: Flickr/Ashok Belur/CC BY 2.0)
- Shirdi is well connected by road from Mumbai (270 kms), Nashik (90 kms), Pune (220 Kms) and Ahmednagar (90 kms). You will have to cross one of these 4 cities depending upon where you are coming from, unless you are coming by train.
- Nearest Railway Station is Sai Nagar Shirdi but the number of trains arriving & departing from this station is fewer in number. Alternatively, either Puntamba Railway Station (for proceeding to Southern India) and Kopargaon Railway Station (for departing to Central & Eastern India) are the best bet. They are some 17 kms away from Shirdi Temple.
Near By Places To Visit
Khandoba temple is one of the popular places to pray, after you are done with your Darshan at Shirdi. Shri Sai Baba was first spotted outside this temple and when Sai Baba became popular, this temple also rose to fame. It takes about an hour to complete the rituals at this temple. It is open on all days from 5 am to 10 pm.
A must visit pilgrimage site within the premises of the main Sai Baba temple in Shirdi, Gurusthan (place of Guru) is supposedly the place where Shri Sai Baba spent most of his time during his early days meditating. Currently, there is a Neem Tree, a Shiv Linga, Padukas made up of marble and Sai Baba’s statue. Open from 5 am to 10 pm everyday.
Located about 70 kms from Shirdi is the famous village of Shani Shingnapur. The village name has been derived from that of Lord Shani (the Black Stone in the picture above), which occupies the 7th planet (Saturn) in the constellation of 9 planets (Grahas). Lord Shani has more power and influence on one’s life, way more than even the gravity. So, your good & bad thoughts both reach him through his power… the good results in good and bad follows bad.
It has a mention in the Guiness Book of World Records for being the only village in the world where the homes do not have any doors. It is widely believed that anyone who steals, Lord Shani punishes him. No theft has been reported here, except for the first couple of times when some rogue thieves tried to steal and suffered irreparable damage.
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