A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Shirdi
Visiting Shirdi for the first time? Here is your practical Shirdi travel guide to answer questions like: How to reach Shirdi? Where to stay in Shirdi? And how to have quick and smooth darshan of Sai Baba?
Shirdi is among the most popular religious places in India. It is a small town situated in the state of Maharashtra. Located around 250 km from Mumbai, the humble abode of Sai Baba attracts millions of pilgrims every year.
Every time a first timer thinks of planning a trip to Shridi, perhaps reaching there, where to stay and how to have quick darshan are some of the basic questions that come to mind. This Shirdi travel guide attempts to answer all these questions.
Before we go to the practical part of reaching Shirdi, figuring out a hotel and how to have a hassle free darshan, here is quick background about Sai Baba.
Shirdi Sai Baba
Sai Baba, as believed came to Shirdi in a marriage party and remained there for life. He spent most his time under a Neem Tree (you can find the same in the temple complex), he wanted to stay at Khandoba’s Temple but priest there apparently did not let him stay and eventually he stayed at a mosque, which now known as Dwarkamayi. During his stay at Shridi, Baba performed miracles, healed diseases, preached brotherhood and harmony. Sai Baba breathed his last on 15 October 1918 and was buried there. Today, Shridi has a well laid out temple complex and a beautiful shrine dedicated to Sai Baba.
Coming back to the First Timer’s Travel Guide to Shirdi, here are some frequently asked questions:
How to reach Shirdi?
Shirdi can easily be reached by rail, road and air. Mumbai is the major nearest airport to Shirdi, which is 250 km away. Pune, 200 km and Aurangabad, 140 km are other airports near Shirdi.
The temple town of Shirdi has recently been linked by train to other parts of India. Sainagar (SNSI) is the closest railway station, which is just 10 km away from Sai Temple. If you are not able to get tickets for Sainagar, your second best bet is Kopargaon (KPG), 14 km away. Manmad (MMR), 55 km away and Nasik Road (NK), 85 km away are other railway stations that you can get down at and reach Shirdi. State transport buses, private buses and taxies are easily available to Shirdi from all these railway stations.
A quick train search revealed not many trains are available to Sainagar but there are quite a few to Kopargaon and Manmad.
Trains to Shirdi from Delhi (all stations)
|Train Name & No.||Station||Departure||Station||Arrival|
|Jhelum Express -11078||NDLS||10:20||Kopargaon (KPG)||09:13|
|Goa Express – 12780||H Nizamuddin||15:05||Kopargaon (KPG)||10:58|
|Karnataka Express||NDLS||21:15||Kopargaon (KPG)||16:28|
|Punjab Mail – 12138||NDLS||05:15||Manmad (MMR)||01:50|
|Mngla Laksdp Express – 12618||H Nizamuddin||09:20||Manmad (MMR)||04:22|
|ASR NED Express – 12716||NDLS||19:32||Manmad (MMR)||21:45|
Most of the cities around Shirdi are well connected by road. Mumbai, Manmad, Kopargaon and Nashik are well connected and you can easily get a bus or taxi to take you to Shridi. If you are not hard pressed for time and want to experience local life, Mahrashtra State Transport buses run on time (mostly) and offer good connectivity from one point to another.
Hotels in Shirdi
There is no dearth of hotels in Shirdi. Most basic hotels – clean and with attach bathroom – should not cost more than Rs. 600 – 700. Three star and above hotels start from Rs. 1000 and go higher especially during peak season. Most of the basic budget hotels in Shridi are located in the vicinity of Shirdi temple complex and they have locational advantage. You can roam around the temple complex and in the bazaar as long as you want without bothering too much.
If you are not averse to staying in guest houses/ashrams/dharamshalas, there is good, neat & clean accommodation offered by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust. You can easily book a room in any of the ashrams online.
If you have not pre-booked your hotel don’t worry. As soon as you get down at Shirdi bus stand, you’ll be greeted by touts to help you find a hotel. It is up to you, if you want to take their help or not. Most of the touts have their shops or get commission from hotel/shops for bringing customers. Read how to tackle touts at Shridi?
Best time to visit Shirdi
Keeping in mind the weather of the region, October to March is the best time to visit Shirdi. The temple gets really crowded during summer vacations in May-June and during festivals especially on Ramnavmi, Gurupurnima and Vijayadashmi. Besides, a large number of devotees also visit on Thursdays, which is considered Sai Baba’s day. A procession of Sai Baba is taken on every Thursday at 9:15 p.m.
If you prefer to visit during lean season, August and September are good months. Monday and Friday are lean days when temple is not too crowded.
Darshan: How much time does it take?
It depends on the crowd and time of the day you line-up for Darshan. On an average it takes 2 to 3 hours. If you don’t want to wait for long in a queue you can have relatively quick darshan by booking darshan online for Rs. 100.
Aarti: How can I be part of Aarti?
Like darshan, you can also book aarti online for Rs. 500 and can take part in any aarti you want. In all there are four aartis that take place on a typical day – Kakad Aarti (morning), Madhyan Aarti (noon), Dhoop Aarti (evening) and Shej Aarti (night). How to book Sai Baba darshan and aarti online?
Shani Shingnapur: The humble abode of Shani Dev
How to Book Sai Baba Darshan and Aarti Online?
Best places to Stay in Shirdi
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