Shiridi is a small village in Kopargam taluk, in Ahmadnagar District of the Maharastra State. When Baba was Physically present at the age of 20 in Shiridi, it was a small village of 80 thatched houses with mud walls. Now it is a big town with Palatial modern buildings and shops. It is also a famous pilgrimage (or Theerdha).
You can go to Shiridi by direct bus from Hyderabad. It is 15 Hrs. journey. R T.C. runs 3 buses between 2 P.M. and 5 P.M. Maharashtra runs 1 bus. K K. express from Banglore runs through Dharmavaram, Ananthapuram and Dond junction to Kopargam and Manmad. You can get down in either Of the stations and catch bus to Shiridi. Navajeevan express from Madras to Ahmedabad goes through Pushaval. Get down there and catch another train to Manmad. You can catch a bus there to Shiridi.
You can reach shirdi from Bombay in six hours by R.T.C Buses, Private Buses, and Taxies .
In Shiridi devotees have to visit
1. Khandoba Mandir
2. Maruthi Ternple
3. Dwaraka Mayi
6. Lendi Thota
7. Saniadhi Mandir
8. Srimathi Lakshmi Bai Shindey's House
9. Bhakta Mahalsapathi's House
10. Uddaya Rao Desapande's house (Son of Syama).
1) KHANDOBA MANDIR :
Kliandoba is said to be the presiding deity of the village. When Baba came to Shiridi, a second time with a marriage party, He got down from bullock cart here. Then the priest of the temple said to him "welcome Sai". The nameless fakir began to be called "Sai Baba" from that time. Baba asked Upasani Baba to live in the Mandir for some time without doing any thing. Pilgrims get to their sweet memories, various Leelas of Baba connected to the place and get spiritual satisfaction.
2) MARUTHI ALAYAM:
This temple is opposite to the lane between Chavadi and Dwarakamai. Baba had lived in the temple for some time in company with Devi Das, Janaki Das and other sadhus. You have to put oil in the oil pot of the light. Some break coconuts for Naivedyam.
Baba lived there almost for 60 years. Once Baba said to His devotee, This is Dwarawathi. Who ever steps here will get Health, and happiness. He will be freed from all difficulties". There used to be no doors to Dwarakamayi and Baba never spoke to any one in secret.
There is Dhuni in it. There are also a (1)Grinding stone used by Baba for making wheat flour. (2) a big stone where Baba used to bath. In front of the dwarakamai in a tiny-roofed shed, there are (1) a Oven for cooking (2) a Tulasi Kota and (3) a wooden pillar. Touching of the pillar will remove all pains of the body. There are also a stone used by Baba for sitting and behind it the Chitrapatham picture, of Baba kept by the side of the wall. On either side of it, there are pictures of a tiger and a horse. Pilgrims get all happiness by touching them.
In Dwarakamai pilgrims have their worship and study Of scriptures ie Sai Baba Charitra. Dhyana also can be had here. They also put the following articles in Dhuni.
1. Hairy Coconuts (Kobbari Kaya)
2. Pidakalu (cakes made of cows dung)
3. Twigs of trees like Ravi, Thulasi, Medi ete
4. Nine different grains (Navadhnyamulu)
5. Pieces of Sandal wood
8. Cows ghee.
Devotees believe that by doing so they can have their sins burnt, desires fulfilled and can enjoy every happiness. Every pilgrim takes these things with him for the purpose.
4) CHAVADI :
It is 50 yards away from the dwarakamai. There are two rooms on the backside of it. In one of them, we see a table and a wheeled chair. The table was used for placing the sacred body of Baba and bath it. Pilgrims touch them with reverence for mental satisfaction. In the other room there are Baba's photos Women are not allowed to enter this room. parayana of Sai Charitra can be had in the Verandah rooms.
Baba used to sleep every alternate night from 10-12-1910 in the Chavadi. Procession of chavadi festival used to be celebrated with great pomp and colour. Mela Thalamulu like Sannayi, Dolu etc were engaged. Thathya used to hold Baba's right hand and Mahalsapathi his left hand. Either Bapusaheb Jog or Nimoskar used to hold Chatram (Umbrella) over his head. Carrying sataka under his arm pit. Baba used to push in fuel into Dhuni with His right foot and put out the light with his left band. Then the procession used to march forward. Hari Vinayak Sate carried Rajadandam. Purandarey another devotee, carried jyothi (or Divity with 125 vicks burning). Pallaki led the procession. It was followed by the Radhamu, Baba's Horse called Syarna Karna, Musical instruments, Bhajana troops and devotees etc.
The procession halts near Chavadi. Baba stands with concentrated mind. He shines like the rising Sun. All musical instruments play in high pitch. Cries of the Devotees calling the names of gods including Baba rented the skies. Some fall down and roll on the ground with unbearable emotions. Even great men dance to the tune of musical instruments. Baba also waves his hand to tune.
Kaka Saheb Dixit comes forward with a silver Plate containing flowers and Gulam (red powder). They all throw off and on the flowers and Gulal on the body of Baba. Baba's face beams with steadiness and added radiance and beauty. The devotees enjoy sweet happiness. Their minds over flow with unbearable sweet heavenly happiness. They slowly march forward and reach the Chavadi.
The Chavadi is also nicely decorated. Thatya goes ahead and spreads an "Asan" (seat). Baba is made to sit there. He is made to wear a good coat. Devotees then begin to worship him in many ways. Some one puts the crown on his head. Some throw flowers, sweet smelling articles etc. They put the mark of VAISHNAVITS (Urdha Pundramulu or Namalu) on his forehead. Baba bears all this trouble for the satisfaction of his devotees. Nana Saheb Nimonkar holds Chatram to Him.
Jogh washes his feet having them kept in a silver plate. He is given arghya, Sandal paste and tambul (pawn killey). Devotees wave Chamarams and fans. Tatya patil makes chilm and gives it to Baba. After Baba enjoys it, it is passed on to all concerned. After every thing is over Bapu Saheb Jogh moves Arati round Baba's head. Devotees leave the place one by one with great satisfaction and mental peace Then Baba himself prepares his own bed. He arranges 50 or 60 white Chadders one upon other. Then he goes to rest.
At present, this Chavadi Procession is celebrated on every Thursday night only from 9 P.M to
10 P. M.
It was the place where Baba was seen for the first time at the age of 16. On Sravana Purnirna day in 1912, Baba's Padukalu (slippers) were installed here for devotees' sake. They have the sanctity of the touch of Baba prior to installation. It was a holy function. Baba gave a Sivalingam to Megha. After he passed away, the Sivalingam was installed in this place. Devotees sit here on the Mantapam facing North. It is believed that those who light here and put Dhupam on Thursday and Friday will enter into the protection circle of Sri Baba's devotees. Here the programme of Pradakshina, Dhyana, Japa and patanam of Guru charitam (Baba charitra) are carried on by devotees.
6) LENDI GARDEN
It was called so because a stream called the "Lendi"' used to flow there. Baba used to visit this garden both morning and evening every day. In 1890 Baba lighted here, in a small pit newly dug, "Nanda Deepa". It is also called Akhanda Jyothi. Later in 1936, a pillar was built with rocks and the light was arranged on it. On one side of the Akhanda Jyothi Pillar there is a Neem tree (Vepa) and on the other side a Ravi Tree. Devotees will have their Pradakshinas to them. There are also two other important things near them. The idol of Dattatreya was installed there. An Udumbara tree (Medi) is also there. Pilgrims have their Pradakshina to them also. Baba dug a well here. The water of the well, it is said, has the power of curing all diseases. Pilgrims drink its water without fail. This garden is now used also by devotees for Dyana, Japa, Parayana etc.
7) SAMADHI MANDIRAM:
Long after Baba came to Shiridi for the second time 1) Sathewada 2) Deekshit Wada and 3) Buty wada were built. A Mandir was built in Buty Wada for installation of the idol of Muralidhar. But later Baba's physical remains were kept in rest in it and a Samadhi was built. So it is now called Samadhi Mandir. There is also life like white marble statue of Sai Baba installed. Devotees go there for Darsanam of the Samadhi and Statue.
Pilgrims participate in Arathi programmes conducted four times every day and in the Morning Abhisheka ceremony. Here also Charitra Patana, Dyana are carried on by pilgrims. We can enjoy seeing some of the articles used by Baba that are kept here. Various programmes on all festival days are arranged here.
ABOUT THE WHITE MARBLE STATUE OF SRI SAI BABA.
Thalim was a sculptor. He was engaged to carve the white Marble statue of sri Sai Baba, He spent much time to select suitable features for the purpose. He observed in vain many pictures of Baba with different postures. He could not form any mental picture. He was in a fix. Then Baba appeared to him in his dream and gave instructions. Thalim was able to carve the life like size marble stone statue of Baba by His Grace (Baba's). It has the sanctity of having Grace of Baba.
The statue is as big as that of a grown up man. It was in 1956 that the statue was installed (pratishta). It seems as if it has life. It's features express karuna and Brahma Varchassu. (Heavenly radiance). It is surprising to note that from which ever angle you look at the statue, it seems as if, it is looking with grace at you only. How sweet his smile is ! No where in the world, it is said, can we see such a statue. It is Unique.
After Arati, every time, Baba's statue is dressed with new clothes and garlanded It is a great wonder to see him as an old man at the time of Abhisheka and as an energetic Young Emperor after he is dressed and garlanded. It is the feeling felt by all pilgrims who visit the Mandir.
8) LAKSHMI BAI SHINDE'S HOUSE:
Here we can see 9 coins given to Lakshi Bai Shinde by Baba in his last days. We can see her Samadhi also here.
9) BHAKTA MAHALSAPATI'S HOUSE:
Here we can see 1)Sataka 2)Coat 3) Kafni and 4)foot wear of Baba
10) UDDAYA RAO DESAPANDE'S HOUSE
Uddaya Rao Desapande was the son of Madhava Rao Despande alias Syama. He was fortunate enough to enjoy Deha sparsa of Baba (to touch the body of Baba) even when he was a boy. The idol of Vigneswara given to Syama is in his house. Devotees enquire Uddava Rao about his personal experiences with Baba. He gives first hand information which is more valuable to devotees.
There are also the temples of ( 1) Siva 2) Ganapathi and (3) Sani in Shiridi.
Just 4 miles from Shiridi there is Upasani Baba Asramam at Sakori, pilgrims visit these places also with reverence.
Let us all visit and enjoy the sacred places where Sai Baba wandered and graced them with His presence, so that we may also be blessed by him.
IMPORTANT FACTS TO BE BORNE IN MIND BY SHIRDI PILIGRIMS TO ENJOY THE VISIT WITH OUT ANY INCONVENIENCE:
Get down from bus in Shiridi. Santhi Nivas Vasathi Bhavan is at walking distance. Coolies are available for luggage. Walk to the place. The first room there is the enquiry office. Take applications for rooms and lockers. Fill it and give in the office. You will be given a slip with serial number. Go to the concerned counter and hand it over. You will be allotted a room or a locker. The rent for the room is Rs. 25/- at present. The rent for the locker is Rs. 2/- .
If you can not get either, keep your Samaans (luggage) in the cloak room in the Santhi Nivas. Better to have your own lock and key. Hot water buckets will be available at one rupee a bucket near the rooms, Those who get lockers will be supplied a bed and Duppate (Blanket) and charge for it. The deposits made for rooms and beds are repaid in Santhi Nivas. There are also private agencies that provide all conveniences. But their rates are abnormally high and changeable.
Sree Shiridi Sansthan management has newly constructed a building of 500 rooms on the way to Sakori. Rooms are rented for Rs 100/- a day. You have free bus service to Samadhi Mandir from the rooms.
The Shiridi Sai Mandir, Nallagutta of' Raniganj in Secunderabad constructed 23 rooms building,. 'Sai Nilayam' in Shiridi on Backside of Jain Temple. The rent for single bed room is Rs. 35/- and double bed room is Rs. 65/-. You have to book for rooms in the Mandir in Secunderabad.
Reservations for Railway Journy from Manmad and other places are available in the Santhi Nivas Railway Reservation counter. You reserve for return journey on the day you reached there. Bus station provides reservation to Bus Journeys.
Next to Santhi Nivas there is tie library of Samsthanthan. Behind it the Bhaktha Nivas. Opposite the Nivas we find the temples of Siva, Sani and Ganapathi. Next to the Nivas, is the Samsthan's shop, selling books and Chitra patams. Next to it there is another shop, selling newly Samadhi covered shawls or the like. They are sold for fixed rates. On Thursday there will be open auction for such Samadhi covered clothes. You can also buy them even then. Next the shop, there is shoes keeping counter. Keep your shoes there, take the token and enter the Mandir.
You can become a member of Bhaktha Mandali for one year by paying Rs. 11/ - (in January Month only) and a life time member by paying Rs. 25/- (at any time) Counters for the applications for it are near the steps into the Mandir. Take the application. fill it up, return it with fees. You will be enrolled as member. Life time members will be informed of all programmes and they will be send Baba's Prasadam.
If you want to give the samathan the cloth with which you covered the Samadhi and Baba's statue. you have to give the cloth in the concerned counter and take receipt. We have to pay one day earlier the required fee for celebrating Sai Satya Vratam in the concerned counter. You can participate in the next day programme. You have to pay the Rs. 25/- for participation in Abhishekam in the same day in the separate counter.
ARRANGEIIENTS FOR MEALS:
Samstan arranged meals at Rs. 4/- for each ticket. They give meals without butter milk. It is better for us to take buttermilk with us. If you want to feed Sadhus the Samsthan supplies meals for concession rates. Refreshment packets are sold, morning and evening in front of "SAI PRASADMANDIR". There is a canteen organised by the Samsthan by the side of the Gurusthan (in Dhikshit wada). You can get milk, coffee, and Tea throughout the day and night for 24 hours at concession rates.
TAKE THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES WITH YOU WHEN YOU VISIT SHIRIDI.
1. Baba jeevitha Charitra for Parayana
2. Books of Arati songs to participate in Arati
3. Articles required to place in Dhuni,
4. Sweet Scent (Panneru), cows milk and ghee and Agarabatti stieks, For Abhisheka.
GET HOME THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES FROM SHIRTDI WITIJOUT FAIL
1.Samadhi Dhuni Vibhuti (Udi)
2. Shawls with which the Samadhi and Sai idol are covered.
3. Sai Nadhuni Sat Charitra made to touch Sai. It is the most important of all as it holds the
power of touch by Baba.
Sai Samsthanam is publishing Sai Leela by Monthly. The Subscription for the year is Rs. 50/-.
JAI SAI SAT GURU
INFORMATION COLLECTED AND COMPAILED BY SAI BHAKTA ALURU GOPALARAO of PONNUR.
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