Its truly said..that before god’s permission nothing is possible on this earth..although I may sound a bit like priest…but that’s how I feel. Since long I was planning for a trip to Shirdi, and especially after coming down to Pune this desire became more intense as Shirdi is almost five hours drive from Pune.
But finally my wish came true when this weekend(14/06/08 ) got a chance to visit this divine place.
How to get to Shirdi:- Nearest airports are Mumbai(260 km), Pune(185 km) and Aurangabad (125 km). The nearest railway station is Manmad (80 km approx) on the central railway, if one is coming via Manmad he can leave the train at Manmad itself and then hire a taxi till Shirdi the fare for taxi should range between 150-200 bucks.
well me being in Pune chose the bus route.I booked a ticket of semi-sleeper bus making me poorer by 200 bucks.Mmake sure if you are planning your trip on weekends then have your tickets booked for bus well in advance, as Saturdays and Sundays witness a huge rush from places located nearby Shirdi.
for people planning their trip from Mumbai,State Transport Corporation and private operators run coaches to Shirdi from Mumbai. The easiest way to get to Shirdi is by bus. If you fly into the Mumbai airport, hire a taxi (the ones that are in lines at the very front of the airport) to take you to the Dadar Bus Stand. The cost is about Rs.-150 to Rs.-175 (make sure they turn the meter on). There are also people who will try to redirect you to their own “private” taxis. These “private” taxis charge between Rs. 400 to Rs. 600 to take you to the Dadar Bus Stand.
At the Dadar Bus Stand, there are long lines of small ticket counters that sell bus tickets to Shirdi. Preferably, try to get an A/C direct bus (Rs.-300). If you are not able to get an A/C direct bus, get a non-A/C direct bus (Rs.-150). Buses leave almost every 3 hours from Mumbai to Shirdi. So your wait will not be long. The buses make about 2 stops for food. Make sure you pack some snacks and bottled water for the trip. Keep an eye on your luggage! Try to get a bus that departs before 11am so you will not arrive too late at Shirdi.
I boarded on bus at 11 PM and reached Shirdi by 4 AM the reason for this late night journey was to witness the auspicious first aarti(prayer) of the day of babaji.
once you reach Shirdi, agents of local lodge owners will flock you as if you are Saibaba and they have got his darshan in your incarnation, stay cool. If a visitor is alone (like me) he may opt for option just to take bath and other early morning rituals, as I was suppose to leave Shirdi on same day by noon itself, I got hold of agent who took me to a lodge for bath and other things, for that whole ‘holy experience paid up 20 bucks, I asked him where’s the room the owner told me it’s room# 37, I was expecting that it will be sort of small bathroom with locker outside, but as I reached upstairs all my hopes vanished when I saw the so called room#37 packed with almost 10 people waiting for their turn, I kicked my own a** (it happens only in special cases) for expecting so much just for 20 bucks, never mind I took bath and rushed to temple to stand in que.
word of caution:- when you go for buying the prasad (stuff offered to god), bargain hard because it may happen that one may land up paying exorbitant price for the prasad. I purchased prasad of amount 300 bucks which was of amount just 100 bucks or even lesser.
finally I entered the temple witnessed the aarti and was free in almost 2-3 hours.
it was then time to march back to Pune for which I caught a bus and payed 150 bucks for it (which broke down in midway reinforcing my faith on my bad luck that any of my journey can’t end without a twist in the tale).
Situated around 5 km from Shirdi is Sakori. The place is home to the Upasini Maharaj. Shanisinghnapur is 70 km from Shirdi. A temple devoted to Shani is located there.
Since my childhood I always had a fascination towards Saibaba, and really felt overwhelming when I entered the temple (turst me you can only feel it).
once again after trip to Kashid beach this was my second consecutive weekend trip.
All together it was a trip to remember.