Shirdi Sai Baba
Shri Sai Baba
The shrine which houses Baba’s tomb was originally constructed as a wada (large private house) during Baba’s last years in his physical body. It is built on some land that Baba had tended as a garden. The wada was originally intended as a rest house and mandir. The inspiration for the building came to Booty in a dream, when he was sleeping beside his friend and fellow devotee, Shama, Baba appeared and told him to build a house and temple. The shrine was built by a wealthy devotee from Nagpur, Gopalrao Booty. The Sri Sai Satcharitra describes him as a “multimillionaire”. He was introduced to Baba by S. B. Dhumal about ten years before Baba’s Mahasamadhi.
The work was begun around 1915. It was built in stone and was therefore known as dagadi (stone) wada. Shama supervised the construction of the basement, ground floor and well. Later, Bapusaheb took over job of supervising the work.
When Baba passed the site on his way to Lendi, he would sometimes offer suggestions. As the building progressed, Booty asked Baba if he could include a temple on the ground floor with an statue of Murlidhar (a form of Lord Krishna). Baba readily gave permission, and said, “When the temple is built, we shall inhabit it and ever afterwards live in joy.” Shama then asked Baba if that was an auspicious time to start the work and Baba replied that it was. Shama immediately fetched and broke a coconut as Mahurat (good omen) and the work was begun. The foundation was quickly laid, a pedestal prepared and an order placed for the idol. However, the significance of Baba’s comment was appreciated a few years later.
On 15 October 1918 he lay with his body fading fast. His last words were ,”I am not feeling well in the masjid. Carry me to the dagadi wada”.
Baba was indeed carried to the wada, and was buried in the place where the image of Murlidhar was to have been placed: an edifice was later raised over the tomb.
Baba took Mahasamadhi on Tuesday 15 October 1918. Thirty-six hours after he had left his body, Baba was finally interred. A photograph of Sai Baba was placed on a throne on the platform of the tomb. It remained there until the statue was installed in 1954. That picture is now kept in the recess of the Samadhi Mandir where some other things of Baba’s are on display (see below).
The Mandir that we see now is about twice the size of the original building, having been later extended back from the stone arches. As the temple authorities try to find new ways of coping with the ever-increasing flow of visitors, various alternations are made. In 1998 a hall was added to the back of the mandir, so that it has again almost doubled in size. A big beautiful hall, connecting Masjid (Dwarkamai) has been built up.
The temple premises of Shri Saibaba is spread in approximately 200 sq. mtrs. It is situated in the heart of Shirdi village and is a major center of pilgrims from all over the world. The complex contains KHANDOBA TEMPLE, GURUSTHAN,
SAMADHI MANDIR, DWARKAMAI, CHAVADI, LENDI GARDENS and some other temples.
From Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai the temple is approx. 244 Km, from Sainagar Shirdi railway station it is 3 Km. Since few trains halt at Sainagar Shirdi, one can also get down at Kopargaon Railway Station which is only 17.5 km from the temple. The other option is to either get down at Nagarsul station or Manmad Junction which are 43 km and 57.5 Km respectively from temple. From Manmad and Nagarsul frequent buses are available for Shirdi. Kopergaon also has mini buses and sharing autos for Shirdi.
- Dwarkamai, Gurusthan and Chavdi open for the devotees at 4.30am and the Samdhi Mandir opens at 5am.
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