25 December 2007
We started very early at 5AM from Pune. One reason was to avoid Pune traffic and the other was to reach Shirdi as early as possible. But it took 7.5 hours to cover the distance of 200 kms from Pune to Shirdi. The reason was due to traffic block on the highway. We had breakfast on the way at Ahmednagar.
Shirdi is the place where original Sai Baba preached. He is said to have performed numerous miracles and healed people’s diseases. He also brought unity and harmony between different communities. He was buried here and a beautiful shrine is built over it. People now flock to Shirdi to visit this Shrine.
People in Shirdi told that the waiting time in the queue was minimum 6 hours. Our tour organizer Mohandas gave an option of having darshan from a far distance. That would be quick. I agreed to his suggestion. But other people were extremely religious and out rightly rejected it. They said that they were ready to wait for any amount of time. Majority decision prevailed and we decided to stand in the queue. I was just pondering whether to stand in the queue or have a quick darshan. Shirdi is a dirty town and waiting in the queue was more attractive than spending 6 hours on the streets of Shirdi.
After lunch, we went inside the Temple. I must say that the Temple is managed quite well. In spite of the large number of devotees, the Temple area is neatly maintained. The queue is also managed well with provision to sit at few places. Drinking water and Tea was available for the people in the queue. Toilet facility was also available in the queue.
Since multiple queues were formed and with efficient queue management, people moved fast and in 2 hours we had the darshan.
There is also a museum which displays the items used by Sai Baba. The fire lit by Sai Baba is still maintained. The security is very tight and photography was not allowed in the Temple complex.
Pune – Ahmednagar: 120kms
Ahmednagar – Shirdi: 80kms