When you think of Shirdi, it is the divine aura of Sai Baba that immediately springs to mind. Yet, this spiritual town in the state of Maharashtra, India, is not just the end of the road. It can be a stepping stone to a number of other fascinating destinations in the vicinity, each brimming with their own unique allure. This blog post uncovers some of the must-visit places near Shirdi, promising diverse experiences beyond the spiritual realm.
1. Nashik: Just about 90 km from Shirdi, Nashik is a city of ancient and modern charm. It's a prominent pilgrimage site with a multitude of temples, most notably the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India. Also, don't miss a visit to the Panchvati area, famous for its association with the epic Ramayana. If you're a wine lover, make sure to explore Sula Vineyards, India's leading wine producer, offering delightful wine tours and tastings.
2. Shani Shingnapur: Located about 65 km from Shirdi, Shani Shingnapur is famous for its unique temple dedicated to Lord Shani. The highlight of this village is the houses without doors, as locals believe that Lord Shani protects them from all harm. This temple town stands as an intriguing testimony to India's diverse spiritual practices.
3. Aurangabad and Ajanta-Ellora Caves: Around 130 km from Shirdi, Aurangabad is a historical city named after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. It's famous for its historic sites, such as Bibi Ka Maqbara, often referred to as the 'Taj of Deccan', and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Ajanta and Ellora Caves. These stunning rock-cut cave monuments, adorned with beautiful paintings and sculptures, offer a glimpse into India's rich artistic and cultural history.
4. Bhandardara: About 122 km from Shirdi, Bhandardara is a picturesque hill station nestled in the Western Ghats. It's a nature lover's paradise with lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, serene lakes, and ancient forts. Don't miss the stunning view of the highest peak in Maharashtra, Mount Kalsubai, and the mesmerizing beauty of Randha Falls and Wilson Dam.
5. Igatpuri: Located about 130 km from Shirdi, Igatpuri is another enchanting hill station in the Western Ghats. Known for its misty landscapes, majestic mountains, and beautiful waterfalls, Igatpuri is also home to the world-renowned Vipassana International Academy, offering courses in the ancient technique of meditation, Vipassana.
6. Saputara: Approximately 225 km from Shirdi, this quaint hill station in the Dang district of Gujarat is a serene retreat from the hustle-bustle of city life. With its pleasant climate, scenic landscapes, beautiful lake, tribal culture, and arts, Saputara is an excellent spot for a relaxing getaway.
While Shirdi offers a profound spiritual journey, the surrounding regions extend your horizons to include historical marvels, picturesque landscapes, and exciting cultural explorations. The proximity of these destinations to Shirdi makes them perfect for day trips or brief detours as you embark on your spiritual journey.