Shirdi Sai Baba is a much-revered saint from Maharashtra. Thousands of people visit the temple every day, especially on Thursday and weekends. And one of the reasons that have been attracting pilgrims to this place are the words of Sai Baba before taking samadhi.
Sai Baba promised, “I shall be active and vigorous even from the tomb”.
1. Originally The Construction Was Made For Murlidhar Temple
Built by Nagpur’s millionaire Gopalrao Booty, the Sai Baba temple was originally constructed as a Wada. It was intended that the place will serve as a restroom as well as a temple for Krishna.
As the story goes, once when Shama and Booty were sleeping alongside each other, both dreamt Baba saying, “Let there be a wada with a temple so that I can satisfy the desires of all.” Immediately the two came up with a plan and took approval of Baba through Dixit.
2. Baba Made Suggestions During Construction
During the construction process, Baba used to give suggestions whenever he passed through the site. Baba approved the installation of the statue of Muralidhar on the ground floor as suggested by Booty. He even said, “When the temple is built, we shall inhabit it and ever afterward live in joy.”
The construction of the temple began in 1915. The temple was constructed using stones and hence was called Dagadi Wada.
3. Sai Baba Requested To Carry Him To Dagadi Wada
During the construction of the temple, the health of Baba started deteriorating. His last words were, “I am not feeling well in the masjid. Carry me to the dagadi wada.” He took Mahasamadhi on Tuesday 15th October 1918.
4. Baba Was Buried With His Few Personal Things
He was buried 36 hours after the Mahasamadhi along with his personal articles like a chillim, a satka, a broken brick, needle, and cotton. Some spices and an old cotton bag containing Baba’s cap and green kafni were also placed with his divine body.
After the burial, a photograph of Sai Baba was kept on the tomb’s throne. In 1954, a statue of Baba was built and replaced the photograph. It is the same statue that you see even today in the Sai Baba temple at Shirdi.
5. Interesting Story Of Sai Baba Statue
The statue of Sai Baba every year attracts millions of pilgrims across the world. Devotees believe that the eyes of Baba talk to them. The statue of Baba was installed on 7 October 1954 on Vijayadasami, 36 years after he took Mahasamadhi.
There is an interesting story attached to the statue. As the story goes, a high-quality Italian marble arrived at the dock of Mumbai and there was no one claiming it. So a buyer bought it at an auction and donated it to the temple of Sai Baba.
That is when the temple authorities decided to carve a statue of Baba from it and commissioned Bombay’s sculptor Balaji Vasant Talim for the task. When Talim struggled to carve the exact features of Sai Baba, the divine saint appeared in his dream and showed his face from different angles. It helped Talim to meticulously construct the statue of Sai Baba.
6. Best Time To Visit Sai Baba Temple
Since Thursday is considered the day of worshipping Sadhguru, you will find an extra crowd than other days in the temple. Weekends are also very much crowded. You will see maximum devotees visiting the temple during Ramnavami, Gurupoornima, and Dussehra.
The best time to visit is from December to February. You should avoid visiting the temple from March to May as it is very hot during the summer.
7. Timings And Schedule Of Shirdi Temple
The temple opens for the devotees from 5 am until 10 pm. Kakad aarti is performed at 5:15 am after which a prasad of butter and sugar is offered in the Samadhi Mandir to Sai Baba. Every day the aartis are performed 3 to 4 times a day.
After Kakad aarti in the morning, another aarti is performed at 12 noon, dhoop aarti at the sunset while the Shej aarti is performed at 10.30 pm.
8. Staying In Shirdi
You will find lots of options in Shirdi for staying around the temple. These lodging and boarding options or hotels offer services at a reasonable rate. Both Non AC and AC rooms are available here. You can also check out the Dharmasalas that offer accommodation at cheaper rates.
Even the Bhakta Niwas of the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Trust offer good accommodation options at reasonable rates without any advance booking. But make sure that you are not tricked by the agents who can extort exorbitant commissions for getting you a place in bhakti niwas.
9. Eating In Shirdi
There are plenty of restaurants around the Shirdi Sai Baba temple offering all types of delicious food. However, you will not find any non-vegetarian restaurants in the area. The Sai Bhandara is a place operated by the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Trust that serves food at a reasonable rate.
10. Reaching Shirdi
Shirdi is located 120km from Nashik and 300km from Mumbai. The place is connected to almost all the major public transport terminal in Maharashtra and in a few cities in Karnataka and Gujarat.
You can also reach by private AC and non-AC buses. The closest railway station is Sainagar Shirdi and many trains coming from Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Puri, and Mysore halt at this station.