I have been to shirdi quite a couple of times with friend and family both. Will share the experience of the trip that was with friends. We started our bus journey from Trimbakeshwar towards Shirdi after completely exploring trimbakeshwar. As it was a direct bus, it did not enter Nasik city and bypassed it. We were on the same Nasik-Pune road from which we had come in the morning but this time in opposite direction. At Sinner, the road bisects. Left side road goes towards Shirdi, straight road goes to Pune.
The moment we got down at Shirdi, some humble human approached us and promised to show a cheap, neat and clean hotel. They also offered us to have quick darshan from back gate as it is very crowded due to vacation and it may take hours for darshan. They came one after another. We simply refused them. These people are actually touts. You’ll find them almost at any place of repute, especially at religious destination. All you have to do is to purchase prasad from their shops. But it is always better to ask and fix rates beforehand.
Now without wasting any time we wanted to get the darshan but before it we had to deposit our bags and luggage. For all of us, it was first visit to Shirdi and we were not familiar with the area. So we entered in the enquiry office in Sainath Mangal office. There were many cloak rooms available for luggage and one separate cloak room for mobiles and cameras. Two canteens were also there serving eatable items at subsidized rates. This building is huge and earlier it was named Saiparsad Bhakat Niwas and you can get water tea etc there itself on such nominal costs. Now it has been turned into Sainath Mangal office and also has few guest houses same as on pattern with hotels near by kalaram temple in nashik.
After depositing our belongings we hurriedly went for darshan as the time of evening Aarti was near. During Aarti, darshan is closed for general public and only few people are allowed who have pre-booked for Aarti.
One can book Aarti online for Rs. 500 and can take part in any Aarti he/she wants. Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust has made it extremely convenient for Sai devotees to book Sai Baba Darshan and Aarti online. At times devotees do not know about various facilities offered by Sai Baba Trust and fall prey to touts and anti-social elements. It is very convenient to book Sai Baba Darshan and Aarti online. It saves a lot time and hassle of figuring out what and how to go about darshan and Sai Aarti.
There are four Aarti that take place at Sai Baba Temple during different times of the day.
1. Kakad Aarti (Morning: 4.30 – 5)
2. Madhyan Aarti (Noon: 12 – 12.30)
3. Dhoom Aarti (Evening: At Sunset)
4. Shej Aarti (Night: 10.30 – 10.50)
Depending on your convenience and availability of tickets, you can choose any of the four Sai Aarti. Kakad Aarti is the most preferred and popular of all and you can easily modify or cancel if there is any last minute change in your program.
To book Sai Baba Darshan and Aarti online, all you need is to sign up or register on http://online.sai.org.in/.
We were already very tired due to long bus journey and two hours stand to wait for darshan in morning at Trimbakeshwar Jyotirling.
(The dynamics of darshan at Shirdi also dependent on number of devotees at that particular time. Generally During lean season (July – October) it is not very difficult to have smooth darshan.)
After five minutes, suddenly door was open and we were asked to go for darshan- as there was some delay in Aarti. We entered from one side and have darshan and came out from another door, just opposite to entrance. After darshan we also went to Dwarkamai, Chavadi and Gurusthan. These all places are on the backside of Samadhi temple. We came to know that there is one new huge accommodation complex built by Sai Sansthan is opened for public and we can get room there. We hired an auto and reached there. The complex is huge, neat and clean with plenty of parking space. It is named as Sai Ashram Phase-1. We went to reception and book one non AC room with three beds. We stay there for one night and next morning we left for Shani Signapur.
Shirdi is among the most popular religious places in India. It is a small town situated in Kopergaon, district Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Located around 250 km from Mumbai, the humble abode of Sai Baba attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year.
It was a small village but when baba came to this place it was converted in a small town. Today, Shirdi has a well laid out temple complex and a beautiful shrine dedicated to Sai Baba.
How to reach Shirdi?
Shirdi can easily be reached by rail, road and air. Mumbai is the major nearest airport to Shirdi, which is 250 km away. Pune, 200 km and Aurangabad, 140 km are other airports near Shirdi.The temple town of Shirdi has recently been linked by train to other parts of India. Sainagar (SNSI) is the closest railway station, which is just 10 km away from Sai Temple. As there are only few trains for Sainagar, your second best bet is Kopargaon (KPG), 14 km away. Manmad (MMR), 55 km away and Nasik Road (NK), 85 km away are other railway stations that you can get down at and reach Shirdi.
Though there is no dearth of hotels in Shirdi. Accommodation is also available in many of the ashrams runned by welfare and by trust at cheaper rates and they are comfortable and peaceful too. Moreover the accommodation offered is hygienic and safe.
--A person with a traveler soul. Wanderlust!!