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Shirdi, around 296 km (around 6 hours drive) from Mumbai is a small town in the state of Maharashtra in western India. With a population of 26,169, Shirdi is basically a religious tourist center. Thousands of pilgrims flock to Shirdi. There are several centres of tourist attractions in Shirdi, Tour Bokkingbut it is the shrine of Sai Baba that is the nucleus of activity and makes the place a revered place of Hindu Pilgrimage in India.

Description of the temple :

Shirdi Sai Baba A millionaire from Nagpur along with a famous Sai devotee Shreemant Gopalrao was the actual owner of the Samadhi Mandir of Shri Sai Baba. His intention was to install an idol of Murlidhar here. According to the legendary belief, Baba himself took the form of Murlidhar and the temple thus became the Samadhi Mandir of Baba. It is built with white marble stones. Around the Samadhi, are railings with ornamental decorations.

The idol of Baba in the temple is made in Italian marble, which was built by Late Balaji Vasant in 1954. There is an assembly hall in the temple that can accommodate for about 600 devotees. In the assembly hall, is a showcase that has various items used by the holy saint. The first floor of the temple has the pictures depicting the life of the saint. The temple opens on 5 am with morning prayers and close down at 10 pm with night prayers.

History :

In the interiors of Maharashtra, Shirdi is a sleepy little village which came into prominence when an old sage died in 1918. The saga of Sai Baba of Shirdi began in the middle of the last century. He, as a boy of about 16 years of age first appeared here under a neem tree (Azadirachta indica) absorbed in a hard penance. For the next 60 years, he dedicated his life for the upliftment of the poor and suffering. His origin, religion, and early life cannot be traced and though he is believed to be an incarnation of lord Shiva, his teachings transcended all religions and beliefs.

Today, all places, persons, and possessions connected with Shirdi Sai Baba have reverence to millions of devotees who throng to Shirdi every year from all parts of the world. Sai Baba's shrine has been incorporated as one of the holy places in the world's map of pilgrimage and is regarded as a must visit west India pilgrimage.

Important Festivals :

The most important festivals celebrated in Shirdi are Guru Poornima, Dusshera, and Ram Navami. The Samadhi Mandir of Shirdi is open for the whole night only on these days. Every Thursday, a palakhi having a photograph of the sage is taken out from the temple.

Best Season, Climate, and Clothing :

Winters are the best season to visit the town, the months from September to April being the ideal period. The daytime temperature is pleasant during this period making the days excellent for visiting the tourist attractions of the town. The summers can get very hot in Shirdi. Cotton clothing is apt for summers and light woolens suffice for the winter season.

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