India is a spiritually connected country with temples, churches, mosques, monasteries, gurudwara and synagogue standing by the nook and corner of every state and city of the country. A trip to our respective place of worship is inevitable. And thus with my family, I did have a chance to visit Shirdi and Shani Shingnapur. If you are visiting Shirdi, visiting Shani Shingnapur on the way back is part and parcel and people follow this religion.
Hopefully, my travel diary to both these places helps you to take a tour to Shirdi and Shani Shingnapur with ease.
History Of The Place
It always facilitates me to learn and know the history of the place before my visit. That helps me understand the place better and help me indulge in the entire purpose of my visit. The history of both places is alluring and fascinating.
Shirdi – Shirdi is famous as the birthplace of Sai Baba. Sai Baba was a Saint with devotees from both Hindu and Muslim backgrounds. It was said that he came to Shirdi, A small town in Maharashtra at a very young age. His birthplace and date are however not confirmed. The local people were wonderstruck by the perseverance and ascetic lifestyle of the young lad. But Baba soon disappeared for a year to take part in India’s freedom fighting.
But when he returned to Shirdi in the year 1858, his way of dressing and his apotropaic way of healing people started gaining attention outside Shirdi and reached Mumbai. Soon people started coming from all over Maharashtra to visit Sai Baba. In the year 1918, Sai baba took last breath leaving back several devotees that continued to grow to date. The magnificent temple of Shirdi Sai Baba was built and thousands come here every single day to take blessings.
Inside the temple shrine
When I was inside the temple, I realised a lot of patience is required to get a glimpse of Sai Baba. There is an overwhelming crowd. It is noted that an estimation of 25000 devotees and pilgrims come here each day. However, the wait was worth, inside the sculpture of Sai baba and Samadhi was carved in beautiful Marble precisely saying Italian marble. Sai baba can be seen covered with beautiful silk cloth and adorning a gold crown on the head.
A four-round Aarti is held every day inside the shrine.
- The morning Aarti called Kakad Aarti
- Aarti around noon, madhyan Aarti
- Evening Aarti around 6:30 Dhup Aarti
- Shej Aarti which is done late at night to close the temple for that day.
Special Aarti and other events like the palanquin procession are held every Thursday. It was a rejuvenating experience to watch the entire surrounding filled with the essence of spirituality.
On the way from Shirdi, people stay to take blessings from another pilgrimage spot, Shani Shingnapur. It is a temple dedicated to Hindu God Shani Dev in a small town Shingnapur, Maharashtra. One of the most fascinating things that I found was that there was no door for houses surrounding the temple. The story goes that there is no thief in that part of the city and if by mistake someone tries, they will ultimately fall for the wrath of Shani dev.
Strict dress code is imposed on those who want to enter the sacred temple.
The best time to visit Shirdi and Shani Shingnapur is in winter as summer is too hot and humid around the area. Winters are pleasant and easy for you to roam around shopping and other activities around both the temples.
How to reach:
I travelled to Shirdi from Aurangabad which was just 130 km distance. For people from different states, it will be easy to come to Aurangabad first. There is a cab directly from Aurangabad airport and railway station. There are Maharashtra State Transport buses available from all major cities though.
Visiting both Shirdi and Shani Shingnapur is just a day’s affair. If you are early in the morning you can wind up all the errands by early evening. Visit Shirdi and Shani Shingnapur at one stretch and be blessed forever!