Shirdi Temple

About The Temple

Brief Sketch Of Shirdi Temple

The Sri Shirdi Sai Temple is built over the Samadhi or the grave of Shri Sai Baba in the village of Shirdi situated in the Ahmednagar district in the state of Maharashtra in India. The temple was initially built in the year 1922 by the devotees of Sri Sai Baba to continue to carry out services to him even after his death.

The eternal spiritual presence

The Shirdi temple has great implications to people of all faith who flock there to seek his blessings. Just as when he was alive and sought to educate his disciples with his philosophy of shradda and saburi that is faith and compassion, even in death he continues to bestow his blessings. Sai Baba is said to have never returned anyone who came to him empty handed during his lifetime. Similarly the devotees firmly believe that a darshan at this holy temple will fulfill all their material needs. Baba is believed to be omnipresent and manifesting in different ways to the believer.

The main deity

The presiding deity of the Sri Sai temple is of course that of Sri Sai. While he was alive, Baba had promised his devotees that he would always be active and alive among them even from his tomb. The omnipresence of Baba is felt by each devotee before his statue that touches the lives of millions that come to have Shirdi temple darshan. The serene look of the Shirdi temple imagaes of Baba with his blessing posture ensures that no one returns untouched by having a darshan of his living presence.

The marble idol

The idol of Sai Baba is a white Italian Marble statute where Baba is sitting in a relaxed posture with his natural majestic grace with a most benevolent look towards his devotees. The most impressive part of the statue of Baba is the lifelike eyes with which he gazes mercy upon his devotees. The face is said to have been sculpted by on the inspiration of that the maker had in his dream when Baba appeared to him to give him an elaborate understanding of the different angles of his face. The statue of Baba is dressed in expensive costumes and a gold crown adorns his head.

The dedicated shrine

The main shrine of Shridi is dedicated to the Sai Baba and there are no immediate shrines within the complex. The main shrine has a golden cone shaped top on the outside flanked by four smaller structures that too are covered by golden plates. The main entrance leads the devotees directly to the Samadhi of Sai Baba before which the white marble statue of the Shridi Sai is kept.

Daily worship rituals

The image of Sai Baba is given the due honor that he used to be given during his life time. Every day in the morning at 4 am Baba is woken up and his mosquito net is removed following which incense is offered to him. After this the ritual abhishek is offered to Bab during which he is bathed in hot water, curd milk and ghee. His clothes are changed four times during the day before the elaborate arati. He is adorned with silver or a golden crown during the arati.

The arati is held at 4.30 am, at noon, at sunset around 6.30 pm and finally at 10.30 pm. He is offered breakfast, lunch and dinner and at night a mosquito et is spread over his hung above his statue and a kaffan like white cloth is placed on the tomb. To assure his comfort, a glass of plain water is kept next to him too. Each Thursday a Palki with Bab’s photo is taken out of the temple in procession. The Shirdi temple timing for Darshan is from 5 am to 10 pm.

Celebration of the special days

There are three main festivals that are celebrated with much fervor in Shirdi. They are Rama Navami that is celebrated in March – April, Gurupurnima in the month of July and Vijaya Dashami in September. Each of these special celebrations are held for three to four days. There are elaborate Shirdi temple puja program during these festivals along with singing of bhajans and public reading of scriptures and devotional texts. There are also exuberant and elaborate palanquin processions along with the Rath or the chariot to take Baba around the village. During these special occasions the Samadhi Mandir remains open all night long for the teeming millions of devotees to have a darshan of Baba.

The festival on Ramnavami is a special occasion in which Sai Baba himself took part and asked for the festival to continue for more than a day. It was originally the Urus during which Ramnavami was celebrated with Baba in 1912 and since then the festival has grown much in magnitude. Gurupurnima is an occasion when the devotee honors her or his guru and seek special blessing and this is especially for each disciple of Sri Sai. The ritual of worshipping Baba was stated in 1908 when he was still alive. Baba left his earthly abode on the Vijaya Dashami day and it is on this day that his Samadhi Mandir was inaugurated and is celebrated with much fervor.

The holy pilgrimage

A pilgrimage to the Shirdi Sai Tmeple is a must for all devotees who have felt the presence of the Omnipresent Sai in their lives. Baba came to serve humanity during his lifetime curing diseases, helping people live a better life and educating them on religious tolerance. People flock to serve Baba with the clothes, fruits and sweets at this Samadhi Mandir and receive his blessings. A glimpse of the serene image of Bab at the temple fills the devotee with inner grace. It is a grace to obtain the Shirdi temple prasad from the temple kitchen as ladoos.

How To Reach

Though Shridi used to be a small time village in Maharashtra, today it is well connected with the rest of the country by all modes of transport.

  • The nearest airport to Shridi is Aurangabad Airport that is about 130 Km away from the town of Shridi. This local airport has regular flights from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. It is easy to reach the temple precincts from the airport as there are regular taxi and bus services from the airport.
  • There is a network of buses run by the State of Maharastra to reach Shiridi by bus. These bus services are available from all major cities like Aurangabad, Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Kopargaon and of course Mumbai.
  • The Kopergaon Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Shridi being 16 km away. The station is well-connected by trains from different cities of India. There are several state and private buses and taxis available from the station to the temple area.
  • You can also travel to Shirdi by road as it lies on the Ahmednagar – Manmad highway that connects major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nasik enroute to Shridi. The distance of Shirdi from Mumbai is 250 Km, from Pune 157 Km and 130 Km form Aurangabad.

 

Nearby Attractions

The entire area surrounding Shirdi is fraught with places that are living reminders of the presence of Sri Sai Baba. Your pilgrimage to Shridi will remain incomplete without visitng them.

  • Dwarkamai Shirdi is situated to the right of the entrance of the main Shridi temple. When Sai Baba arrived in Shridi it was a small mosque in a dilapidated condition where he stayed till the end of his life solving problems of people, curing illness and educating them spiritually. Today this place has been reconstructed and has two levels where on the first level there are two rooms. This level has the stone on which Baba sat with a portrait of Baba placed on it. In one of the rooms is a chariot with a small temple with a saffron flag over it in front of it and the second room has a palki. On the second level hosts the square tool that Baba used for taking bath, a grinding stone and a kolamba where Baba used to keep his bhiksha after the day.
  • Chawdi Mandir is the place where Baba used to proceed in a procession from Dwarakamai at night and halt there and sleep at night every alternate day. In keeping this tradition in mind, every Thursday his holy padukas and satka are taken in a palki procession between 9.15 pm and 10.00 pm. One part of the Chawdi Mandir hosts the large portrait of Baba while the other has a wooden bed and a white chair that he used.
  • Gurusthan Shirdi is the place where the child Sai Baba stayed under the Neem tree when he first came to Shirdi. This is the Gurusthan that was renovated and the present temple built in 1941. On the elevated platform of the shrine is a big portrait of Baba on the side of which is a marble statue of Baba too. There is a Shivlinga and the accompanying Nandi before the portrait along with the photos of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The branches of the original Neem tree come out through the temple roof.
  • Lendi Baug was regularly looked after and watered by Baba and he used to rest under a neem tree here every morning and afternoon. He had dug a two feet pit under the neem tree and placed an earthen lamp lit inside it. later an octagonal marble pit was built with a lampb continually burning encased in glass.
  • Khandoba Mandir Shirdi situated on the main road was the first place where Bab went to stay on his arrival in Shirdi. It was a small temple without a door then but the poojari did not allow him to stay here and he dwelt in Dwarkamai. Later it was Poojari Mhalsapati, of this same temple who welcomed him here.

Apart from these prominent places there are also Hanuman Mandir, the Three Temples in a row dedicated to Ganesh, Shani and Mahadev, the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Narashima Temple that are located close to the Samadhi Madir.

History Of Temple

The temple history in brief

The main shrine that houses Sai Baba’s Samadhi and statue today was originally a large private house that was constructed during his last years. The construction was done over the garden that Baba had tended over a dumping ground. The original house was built to serve as a resting house as well as a Mandir. In his dream a wealthy devotee of Baba named Gopalrao Booty from Nagur and his friend Shama received the instructions of Baba to build the temple. The first round of work began around the year 1915 and it was built of stone. While passing by Baba would sometimes offer his suggestions.

Booty asked Baba if he could place the statue of Muralidhar in the temple to which Baba readily gave permission and promised to inhabit the place permanently with joy. Very soon Baba fell ill and according to his last words he was carried from the masjid to the newly constructed wada. He was carried there and buried at the place where the statue of Muralidhar was to be placed on 15th October 1918 the day of Vijaya Dashami.

He was buried along with his some of his personal possessions a photograph placed on a thorne on the tomb that is still kept in the recess of the Samadhi Mandir. In the subsequent Shirdi temple history the present day Samadhi Mandir has become twice the size of the original wada with a large hall that has been constructed at the back so as to connect it with the masjid or he Dwarkamai. Also a museum has been added that displays three pair of sandals, folded clothes, several chillims, cooking pots and a silver palanquin.