Thousands of people visit Shirdi every day, which is an important pilgrimage destination in India. Devoted to the spiritual saint Sai Baba, the town is a major religious and tourist attraction. Sai Baba who was well-known and much loved for his teachings and miracles made Shirdi home for more than five decades. His mortal remains are entombed in the shrine at the Saibaba Samadhi Temple. Devotees flock to the temple, as well as the other places of interest in Shirdi to pay respects to their beloved leader, learn more about his life, and attain his blessings. Travel to Shirdi is thus pretty hassle-free and convenient, especially since it is well-connected by road, rail and air.
Importance of Shirdi
Shirdi is located in the Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. It is believed that Sai Baba came to Shirdi to attend a wedding where he was addressed as Sai. He later started living in Shirdi and in the early 20th century his fame spread far and wide. People started seeking him when they learnt of his miracles and after his demise, the faith and hope in people pulled them towards his shrine. Today, Shirdi is considered one of the busiest pilgrimages in India. Also, Sai Baba’s influence was felt by both Hindus, Muslims and people of many other faiths. Thus, irrespective of their religions, people from across India, as well as, the world, travel to Shirdi.
Travel to Shirdi – Maharashtra
Shirdi is about 250km from east Mumbai, 90km from Nashik and 186km from Pune. For people living in cities and towns of Maharashtra traveling to Shirdi is relatively simple and quick. Numerous highways and road networks interconnect cities of the state. For instance, the Samruddhi Mahamarg aims to connect Nagpur and Mumbai, reducing travel duration to 8 hours. The first phase of the expressway highway that links Nagpur to Shirdi has been inaugurated recently. This expressway, as well as other state highways and connecting roads, link Shirdi to anywhere in Maharashtra.
Besides, there are plenty of direct bus services that operate from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Dahanu, Alibaugh, Baramati, Kohlapur etc. It can take five to eight hours or more to reach Shirdi from any city in Maharashtra. Additionally, one can also drive or hire private cars or larger vehicles if in a big group. Also, you could choose to travel during the day or take the overnight bus or cab.
However, for people who are not too comfortable sitting for long hours on the bus, then the railway services can be availed. The Sainagar Shirdi Railway station is only 3km away from the Saibaba Samadhi Temple. Trains, such as the Shirdi Fast Pas and Janshatabdi Special from Mumbai run every day to Shirdi.
Travelling from Western and Central India
Travel to Shirdi for people residing in western and central India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is also relatively uncomplicated and simple. Again, travelling by road is perhaps the best way to reach Shirdi if you live in Surat, Ujjain, Indore, Bhopal, Malegaon, Bhusawal, Manmad etc. Direct, as well as connecting buses can be availed through online or counter bookings on bus stands. Similarly, train tickets can also be booked. If there is no direct train available from your destination, then try to reach the nearest railway station from where trains to Shirdi ply. Also, Manmad and Kopargaon are the other two nearest railway stations to Shirdi. Kopargaon is only 12km from Shirdi and Manmad is 50km from Shirdi. Trains, buses and private cars are available from Kopargaon and Manmad to Shirdi.
Travel to Shirdi from East and South India
A large number of devotees travel to Shirdi, especially from southern India. But since the distance is too much, bus travel can be long and tiring. Instead, try the trains from Chennai, Hyderabad, Mysore, Vijayawada, Kakinada, Tirupati and Kolkata to come to Sainagar Shirdi Railway station.
Furthermore, the Shirdi Airport inaugurated in 2017 receives flights from a few cities, such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai. If you are travelling to Shirdi from any other city, then you can book a flight to either of these cities and then proceed to travel to Shirdi.
What to do in Shirdi?
The Saibaba Samadhi Temple is the main attraction of Shirdi. After Darshan, Aarti and spending some time in the temple complex, you can visit Gurusthan, Dwarakamai and Saiteerth Theme Park. However, besides the spiritual, there are also many other recreational and fun activities to do in Shirdi. You can visit Wet n Joy, Waterpark, and also visit waterfalls, or enjoy some trekking in areas near the town.
Travel to Shirdi is well planned and gives visitors plenty of choices of mode and time of travel. Depending on your place of stay and available time in hand, you can decide how to travel to Shirdi. Bookings can be done both online or at ticket counters. In fact, there is a ticket reservation help desk at the Sai Temple too. Yes, it is time to pack your bags and head to Shirdi now!