Shirdi, a quaint town located in Maharashtra, India, is revered worldwide as the divine abode of Shri Sai Baba. The town's magnetic pull comes chiefly from the Samadhi Mandir, the shrine of Sai Baba, attracting millions of devotees every year. However, Shirdi is not just about this iconic shrine. The town and its environs are dotted with several other interesting places that deserve your time and attention.
Here's a curated list of some must-visit places near Samadhi Mandir, Shirdi, to make your spiritual journey more enriching:
1. Dwarkamai: Located just steps away from the Samadhi Mandir, Dwarkamai, an old, dilapidated mosque, holds special significance for Sai Baba devotees. This mosque was Baba's residence for about 60 years until his samadhi in 1918. The stone on which Sai Baba used to sit is still preserved and venerated here.
2. Chavadi: Chavadi is another crucial spot near the Samadhi Mandir. Sai Baba used to sleep here every alternate night. The footprints of Sai Baba, preserved and displayed here, are of immense spiritual importance to the devotees. Don't miss the Palanquin Procession (Doli) that takes place every Thursday night, replicating Sai Baba's visit from Dwarkamai to Chavadi.
3. Gurusthan: Gurusthan, the place where Sai Baba was first spotted as a young boy, is within easy walking distance from the Samadhi Mandir. A neem tree and a marble paduka (footprints) mark the spot. The flame burning in the small shrine here signifies the eternal presence of the saint.
4. Khandoba Temple: Situated a bit farther from the Samadhi Mandir, the Khandoba Temple has a unique historical significance. It is said to be the place where the priest Mhalsapati first addressed Sai Baba as 'Sai'. This ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Khandoba, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, is worth a visit for its historical and architectural significance.
Every nook and corner of Shirdi echoes with the mystic charm of Sai Baba's teachings, making it a spiritually uplifting experience. So, while you're soaking in the divine aura of the Samadhi Mandir, take some time to explore these other noteworthy spots. They promise to add more depth and context to your understanding of Sai Baba's life and his timeless message of universal love, compassion, and unity.