Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Visit to Shirdi and other temples-Part 1

My wife and myself went on a two days Air package tour (22.8.14 and 23.8.14) organized by Akshayam Travels to Shirdi and other temples nearby. I am sharing my experience of the tour in two parts. Part 1 of this article covers the visit to Shirdi on 22.8.14 and Part 2 covers other places.

(Note: Since I could not take the mobile phone inside the mandhir, I could not take any photos in and outside  the mandhir. All the pictures in the article are taken from Google images.)

Delay in reaching Pune:

The tour group consisted of 23 persons including the coordinator Mr.S.Anantasehan who is also the proprietor of Akshayam Travels . All of us assembled in Chennai airport at 3.15 am on 21.8.14. As per the tour programme, we started from Chennai to Pune by Spicejet flight which departed at 5.15 am and supposed to reach Pune at  6.45 am. But due to heavy rains and poor visibility the plane could not land at Pune and it was diverted to Mumbai airport. 

After reaching Mumbai airport it was announced that the plane will take off after 8 am.Since the rains continued to lash Pune, the take off was repeatedly postponed and all the passengers were not allowed to get out of the plane. The cabin crew  in the plane were busy in selling the food items for breakfast of the passengers. Even at 10.30 am we were not told about exact time of departure. There was an announcement that those who wanted to get off at Mumbai could get down from the plane and some passengers left the plane.

At this stage many passenger got restless and asked the air hostesses to arrange for breakfast. After some delay all the passengers were provided cup of noodles as breakfast by the air hostesses. 

After the improving of weather condition at Pune, the flight left Mumbai airport at 11 pm and reached Pune airport at 12 pm. 

Bus travel to Shirdi :

After collecting our luggage, we got into an air conditioned  bus waiting at Pune Airport. The coordinator of the tour expressed regret for the delay in the flight which has upset the tour programme.

After getting our feedbacks,he also announced that instead of taking lunch, we could go straight to Saibaba temple in Shridi since darshan for the group was fixed at 4.30 pm. All of us were provided with bananas, biscuits and drinking water in the place of lunch.

The bus route from Pune to Shridi is in  the worst condition with so many ups and downs. The driver drove the bus very fast and we had hopes that the bus would reach Shridi by 4.30 pm positively.

The coordinator of the tour(who is also Proprietor of the Travel company) who is an ardent devotee of Shirdi Saibaba,  engaged all of us by singing prayer songs in praise of Baba and describing about the importance of various places of worship in Shirdi like Samadhi Mandhir,Chavadi,Dwarakamai etc.

There was heavy traffic jam in a place  just 20 kms from Shirdi and the bus started moving inch by inch with other vehicles. After nearly 40 minutes,the bus could start from the place and reach Shirdi at 5.30 pm instead of the target of 4.30 pm. Meanwhile the coordinator talked to many persons in Shirdi to allow the group special darshan at 5.30 pm.  He  advised us to leave the cameras,mobiles,chappels inside the bus to avoid waiting time in the temple. 

Peaceful darshan of Shirdi Saibaba and other deities:

The bus stopped just in front of the gate of the Samadhi Mandhir  for special darshan and all of us were allowed inside. 
Saibaba Samadhi Mandir at Shirdi

Without wasting any time, we were straight away taken in a special queue and we were in front of the Saibaba Samadhi and idol within 5 minutes. It was really like a miracle that we had a nice and peaceful darshan inspite of all the difficulties and the delay undergone by us  in the journey.

After worshiping Baba, we left Samadhi Mandhir  and took tiffin with coffee/tea etc in a nearby restaurant and proceeded to see the other important places associated with Baba. 

Baba's Chavadi:

Baba used to sleep here every alternate day.  The Chavadi is divided into two parts.  One part of the Chavadi has a large portrait  of Baba along with a wooden bed and a  white chair belonging to him.Every Thursday the Palakhi from DwarkaMai arrives here.Baba's Photograph, his Paduka (slippers), and Satka are kept in the Palakhi. The chair, on which Baba used to rest, and the bed, on which Baba had his  last bath, are also kept in this temple.

There were separate queues for the gents and ladies to enter the chavadi to worship the portrait of Baba.

While coming out of the Chavadi, we could hear the bhajan during  the Aarthi for Baba which was telecast live. We were surprised to see a dog sitting in front of the Chavadi closing its eyes and in full attention as if listening to the bhajan. 

Dwarakamai :

Dwarkamai is situated on the right of the entrance of Samadhi Mandhir. Baba stayed at Dwarkamai till the very end of his life.

The first level of Dwarkamai has a portrait of Baba and a big stone on which Baba used to sit. This level has two rooms. One contains the chariot and the second a palkhi. Just in front of the room where the chariot is kept is a small temple. A saffron flag flies over it. The second level of Dwarkamai has a square stool made of stone, which Baba used for taking a bath. 

The main attraction of this place is the oil painting of Shri Sai Baba sitting in a carved wooden shrine. This level also has the grinding stone and the wooden vessel called  in which Baba used to keep the Bhiksha brought from the village.

The dhuni ,located in Dwarakamai is the sacred, perpetually burning fire that Baba built and which has been maintained ever since, though today the fire is much bigger and is enclosed behind a wire cage. The sacred ash(udi) produced in the Dhuni is distributed to the devotees.

Laksmibai's house:

The next place visited by us is the house of Laksmibai who was a great devotee of Baba.In the house, there is a portrait of Laksmibai and the frame containing  the nine coins given to her by Baba before he attained samadhi. There is also the pillar on which Baba used to recline whenever he visited Laksmibai's house to take the food prepared by Laksmibai.

Hanuman (Maruti) Mandir :

We also worshiped Hanuman in the Hanuman Mandhir which is located in  the lane that runs between Dwarkamai and Chavadi.

Three temples and other important places seen by us inside Samadhi Mandhir:

We went again inside Samadhi Mandhir and worshiped the deities in three small temples. They are dedicated to Ganesh,Shani (i.e. Saturn) and Mahadev (i.e. Shiva).

The we saw the Neem tree under which Baba used to sit from the time he appeared in Shridi for the first time and the Garden which was maintained by Baba and the perpetually-burning lamp which was lit by Baba.

After completing our visit to the Mandhir, we reached the Hotel Kuber Inn where rooms were booked for us. 

We took our dinner in the hotel and spent the night.

Thus the first day of the tour ended and the details of our second day of the tour is  posted by me in 'Visit to Shirdi and other temples-Part 2' with the following link:



Mobile:   09840306678

Email:       akshayamtravels@gmail.com



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