India is home to a gamut of Spiritual practices making it a top destination for religious tourism. People from all over the world come in masses to India in pursuit of spirituality or to answer their spiritual calling. From the peaks of the Himalayas to the Valleys of Southern India, pilgrimage tourism in India offers a varied and rich palette of spiritual teachings and revelations.
Situated almost 83 kms from Ahmednagar district in the outskirts of Maharashtra, the city of Shirdi is a key place to visit if you are a spiritual seeker. Home to the 19th-century saint, Shirdi Sai Baba, Shirdi is a place packed with rich history and spiritual footprint. What makes Shirdi unique is that the teachings of Sai Baba weren’t religiously unidirectional. Perhaps the first saint to bridge the gap between Hinduism and Islam, his teachings had flavours of both religions. He mainly preached the significance of “realisation of the self” and doing away with “greed for perishable things”. Revolving around a moral code of love, kindness and forgiveness, Sai Baba’s teachings urged the devotees to surrender to oneness. Visitors are not discriminated based on religion in Shirdi.
Looking for Spiritual activities Following is a list of places to visit to rediscover yourself while on a spiritual sojourn to Shirdi.
SAI BABA SANSTHAN TEMPLE
Located at the heart of Shirdi, the sansthan temple is dedicated to Sai Baba and attracts devotees from all over the world. The average footfall per day is around 25,000. The temple is equipped with all necessary facilities like darshan lane, food counters, donation counters, offerings counter, book stalls, and train ticket reservation counter. Accommodation facilities are also available for outstation and international devotees. Shirdi Darshan timings fall between 4:00 AM to 11:15 PM.
Located in Kopargaon which is about 14 kms from central Shirdi, Gurusthan is supposedly the place where Sai Baba first appeared to the world in his teens. Placed under a neem tree, the shrine has a portrait of Sai baba with Shivalingam and Nandi, the sacred bull right next to each other. Devotees believe that lighting incense sticks at the shrine will rid them of illnesses.
Dedicated to Lord Shani (Saturn), the Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar holds no architectural marvel. It is a simple stone said to have the powers of Lord Shani to rid people of bad luck. This spot attracts a lot of devotees who visit to please Lord Shani who protects them from perils. Another unique feature of this village is that none of the houses have doors and locks. Such is their trust in the power of Shani.
DIXIT WADA MUSEUM
Located near the Sai Baba Sansthan trust, Dixit Wada museum exhibits original pictures of Sai Baba with his disciples and devotees. You can also view his leather padukas, robes and smoking pipe along with vinyl records, utensils and bathing accessories.
SAI HERITAGE VILLAGE
Sai Heritage Village in Shirdi is a place of natural beauty and tranquillity. Find some quite time while you savour the beauty of the sculptures depicting life events of Sri Sai Baba. This is a must visit for people wanting to know the life history of Sai Baba.
Make sure you visit this tranquil and secular town on your spiritual journey to discover yourself.