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Shirdi is famous for Saint Sai baba who is endowed with unprecedented powers, and is worshipped as a God incarnate with a white beard and penetrating glance, clad in the traditional attire of a poor fakir a ragged white robe and a kerchief around the head seated barefoot on a rock, his right ankle resting on his left knee. Both Hindus and Muslims believe in Saibaba and visit the Saibaba Temple at least once in a week, preferably on Thursday. On every Thursday, a special Aarti (prayer) is performed in the temple. Other places of tourist interest are the Gurusthan, the Khandoba Temple, the Shani Mandir, the Narsimha Mandir, the Changdev Maharaj Samadhi and the Sakori Ashram.
Abode of the charismatic Shri Saibaba, Shirdi is the mystical town fragrant with the devotional intensity that sees devotees from across the world thronging to this small hamlet. Highly placed on the world map of spirituality, Shirdi is located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and close to the holy city of Nasik.
Such is the devotional strength of the place that even a casual visitor cannot remain unaffected by the faith and conviction of the devotees on Saibaba. Bereft of any religious narrowness, Saibaba was essentially an Indian Guru, a Fakir who was regarded by both Hindu and Muslim communities. He worshipped both at temples and mosques and encouraged tolerance between both the faiths. His life and teachings are wonderful semblance of both faiths.
Saibaba is believed to have arrived at the village of Shirdi when he was about sixteen years old. He took up residence in a Khandoba temple, where a villager (Mahalsapathi) at worship first called him Sai ("saint"). Bearing an extremely simple and ascetic life, Sai Baba lived in the village as a mendicant monk. His inherent charisma soon began attracting followers. He has been attributed numerous miracles which still live expanding the list of his devotees. Today Saibaba temples are all across India and even beyond. Devotees have established Sai temples in countries like Canada and Cuba.
Places to see in Shirdi :-
Samadhi Mandir:A wealthy devotee of Sai Baba, Shreemant Gopalrao Buti from Nagpur built this temple in 1917-1918. He wished to install the idol of Muralidhar (a Hindu deity) here, but Sai Baba himself became the deity and after he passed away, his Samadhi (memorial) was built here using white marble. This temple is also known as Sai Baba Temple and features exquisite silver pillars ornamented with elaborate designs. In front of this temple is an assembly hall that can accommodate 600 devotees and a part of the hall showcases different things used by Sai Baba during his lifetime. It is one of the prime tourist attractions in Shirdi and is frequented by numerous tourists all the year round.
Dwarkamai :- This mosque was used as a residence when Sai Baba came to Shirdi for the second time. It is located on the right side of the entry point of Sai Mandir. This mosque occupies an indispensable position among the sacred spots of Shirdi and those visiting the temple inevitably pay a visit to this mosque. In the mosque you will come across the shila (stone), once used by Baba to sit. It is quite fascinating to note that the holy fire that Sai Baba used to light is still burning.
Gurusthan :- This place holds immense significance among the things to watch in Shirdi since it is this place where Sai Baba came as a child ascetic and sat in deep contemplation under a Neem tree. Subsequently, this place came to be recognized as Gurusthan and was also once renovated. Located at this place is a small shrine, featuring a huge portrait of Sai Baba on an elevated platform.
Chavadi :- It is this place where Sai Baba used to sleep after returning from a procession from Dwarkamai to Chawadi. Every Thursday, a procession is carried out to Chavadi carrying the possessions of Sai Baba such as Baba's Photo, Holy Padukas (footwear) and Satka.
Lendi Baug :- It is a famous garden that Sai Baba used to visit daily, for watering the plants. The garden also houses a Neem tree under which he used to take rest. Adjacent to this tree is Nandadeep, a diya (lamp) that used to be lit by Baba each day in the pit dug by him. Nowadays, this pit has been transformed into a marble deepgriha (lighthouse), having a glass box where the lamp is still burning. Several other highlights of this garden are Datta Mandir (samadhi of Sai Baba's horse, Sham Sundar) and Baba's Shivdi.
Samadhi of Abdulbaba :- Abdulbaba was one of the most ardent followers of Sai Baba, who used to read out the Quran to him. Nearby Shri Sai Baba Temple, his Samadhi (memorial) is located. It is one of the prime tourist attractions in Shirdi that houses photos and various items that were once handled by Sai Baba and him.