|Type of Tourism||: Pilgrimage|
|Population||: 26,169 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 504 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: June to March|
|Clothing recommended||: Loose cotton garments in summer, light woolen in winter.|
|Languages spoken||:Marathi, Hindi, English|
|What to buy||: Souvenirs like Photos, Stickers, Statues, Magnets, Books, CDs of Sai Baba, Pooja Articles, Religious Gadgets from the Sansthan Shop, Prasad Laddu.|
|Food Specialties||: Prasadalaya Food, Prasad Laddu, Typical Maharashtrian cuisine, fresh fruits Guava & Pomegranate.|
|Food Specialties||: Prasadalaya Food, Prasad Laddu, Typical Maharashtrian cuisine, fresh fruits Guava & Pomegranate|
‘Shirdi’ is the name that inspires tremendous reverence in the mind of every Indian and the place where one experiences the culmination of piousness and devotion. Synonymous with the name of one of India's most worshipped saints - Sai Baba, Shirdi is the most prominent and sacrosanct pilgrim destination in the state of Maharashtra. Shirdi, a small town of Rahata taluka in Ahmednagar district is known far and wide as a home of Sai Baba, the great spiritual guru renowned for his compassion towards all living beings and the miracles he performed for their welfare. Sai Baba, the ‘Child of God’ is the emblem of religious unison and advocates universal fraternity.
Every activity that takes place in Shirdi revolves around Sai Baba and the Sai Baba Sansthan. Being a very important religious destination, Shirdi is overcrowded by devotees all round the year. To get a glimpse of Sai Baba and seek his blessings, thousands of people from every corner of the country arrive here. The ambience of this spiritual Hamlet is hued with an irresistible mystic aura and not being allured by the divinity of this sacred abode is just out of question.
The mighty temple complex accommodates multifarious of the devotees of Sai Baba. The campus of the Samadhi Mandir is bustling all the time. People devoutly standing in a queue since morning and waiting for their lucky turn to come is the standard spectacle seen here. The temple Sansthan provides free food to the devotees and Bhakt Niwas offers them stay. Apart from the main Sai Baba temple, other religious destinations at Shirdi include Dwarkamai, Chawdi, Gurusthan, Lendi Baug, Khandoba Mandir, Maruti Temple, Jangli Maharaj Ashram and Sai Museum etc. Other than these places, nearby tourist destinations include Sakori, Shanisinghnapur, Nashik, Trimbakeshwar, Nevasa, and Ajanta & Ellora Caves etc.
History Of Shirdi
The history of Shirdi cannot be segregated from that of Sai Baba. Shirdi was a very small town when in 19th century a miraculous young Fakir arrived here and found shelter in a mosque. Nobody knew where he came from, who he was and who his parents were. Gradually, this bearded yogi became famous due to his charismatic powers of healing wounds and diseases, solving worldly problems and his preaching. His sermons advocated the moral that God is one and it is just that he is known by different names. All the religions are based on similar ethics and everybody is equal.
This simple and compassionate sage with extraordinary powers grew more and more popular and drew innumerable followers both from Hindu and Muslim community. People deified him and a villager named Mahalsapathi bestowed a title upon him – Sai. He performed many miracles during his lifetime and finally on 15th October 1918, he took Samadhi. The two most concise messages preached by him are, ‘Don’t be afraid because I am with you’ and ‘believe and be patient’. Sai Baba, even after almost a century of his demises, holds the same, or we can say even more respect in the hearts of his devotees. Sai Baba is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. His followers have full faith that all their problems will be solved when they visit Shirdi.
The mosque where Sai Baba resided is known as Dwarkamai and the temple where his mortal remains were buried is the Samadhi Mandir. The small Shirdi village has registered its name world wide on the spiritual front because of being chosen by Sai Baba as his abode.