Shirdi is a small town in Maharashtra where Baba spent more than fifty years of his life and as such this place offers an excellent window to the life of Sai Baba and his devotees. Every year large number of people come to Shirdi just to have a glimpse into Baba's life and seek blessings from him. The atmosphere of devotion and the undying belief of people in Sai Bab is worth a watch. Here are some of religious spots which have to be visited to get soaked in the charm of Shirdi.
Sri Sai Baba Samadhi Mandir
Devotees from all over the world flock at this important site, which is a samadhi
or the tomb of Sai Baba, to offer their prayers, thank him for his blessings or just have a glimpse of their beloved baba. Here, in the temple you would also find some devotees offering their personal belongings such as a vehicle or flat's key or an agreement paper at his feet to obtain his blessings and luck. Thousands of people stand in the queue for more than four to five hours and sometimes even up to eight hours or more just to have a glimpse of the shrine where Baba rests.
Situated to the right of the entrance of Samadhi Mandir, Dwarkamai or Baba's Mosque is a place where Baba used to interact with his followers, give advice and solutions to their problems and heal the ailing. Before Baba's arrival this place was a mosque in ruined condition and Baba with his lively discussions and constant flow of devotees gave a life to this place. He spent most of his time at Dwarkamai, which is one of the reasons why you must pay a visit here to have a peek into his life then.
Chavadi, which means village office or meeting place for the villagers, is situated close to the Dwarkamayi Masjid. During the last decades of his life Baba along with his followers would come here on alternate nights to spend his time here. And hence you can find some of his personal belongings here as well. Baba's Chavadi is of utmost importance to the devotees, as this also happens to be the place where Baba was bathed for the last time before his funeral.
Once a wasteland, Lendibagh is now a cultivated park with waterfall and flowerbeds. During Baba's time he used this area for nature calls and also liked to spend some time in desolation here. In this garden, he lit a lamp, known famously as Nanda Deep, between a Neem and a Bodhi tree both planted by him. Besides the deep lit by Baba, here one can also visit the Dattatreya Temple, Samadhi of Shyam Sunder, Baba's horse and a well that Baba dug himself along with his devotees and used the water for drinking.
The temple is of great importance for Sai Baba'a followers, as it happens to be the first spot where he stopped upon his entry into Shirdi and also acquired the name "Sai". It is one of the oldest temples in the city and houses the idols of Khandoba flanked by his wives, Banaai and Mhalsa.
Gurusthan, which means place of the guru, held great importance for Sai Baba. He always referred to this place as the tomb of his guru and the reason why he had come to Shirdi. Today, you would find the neem tree under which Baba used to sit, marble padukas, a Shivalingam and a statue of Baba.
Dixit Wada Museum
Right at the centre of the temple complex, you have the Dixit Wada Museum without which your darshan of Sai Baba would be incomplete. This museum houses various personal articles used by him during his lifetime. It's a must visit place for a devotee. Some of his personal belongings are slippers, his dress, vessels that he used, seats, cushions, manual mixers and black and white photographs of his with his followers.
It is another one of the oldest temples of Shirdi and is also known as Hanuman Mandir. On many occasions Baba was seen standing in front of it and sometimes he would also move his arms up and down. According to Baba, when he was a child he had been dedicated to Maruti by his parents so he would make signs to remind him that they were brothers. On Thursdays, you would find local people engrossed in singing various bhajans here.
Other Temples and Shrines
Shirdi has some other small temples and shrines, which are considered to have some importance because of Baba's association to these. Like the three temples, which is a row of three small temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Shani and Mahadev, where Baba loved to light lamps. Narasimha Temple is situated next to the house of Sakharam Shelke from where Baba used to take bhiksha
. The temple also houses the samadhis of Sakharam's son and daughter-in-law. You also have the Kanifnath and Vittal temples where Baba used to stop sometimes.
The Five Samadhis
Besides the temples, one may also pay a visit to the samadhis or the tombs of his devotees. These five samadhis are that of Abdul Baba, Nanavalli, Bhau Maharaj Kumbhar, Tatya Kote Patil and V.P. Iyer.