Dwarkamai is a mosque that is located near the Samadhi Mandir’s entrance in Shirdi. Sai Baba stayed in this very place till the time he breathed his last. Dwarkamai has two divisions to itself. The first level consists of Baba’s portrait and a huge stone he usually sat on.
This level is further divided into two rooms, one of which houses his chariot, while the other, his palkhi. A square stone stool occupies the second level. It was used by Baba during his bath. The several oil paintings that adorn the place serve as huge attractions to devotees and tourists.
Gurusthan is a holy place located in the vicinity of Shirdi. When Sai Baba was 16 years old, he was visible to the world for the very first time under a Neem Tree. The tree is called Margosa and the place went on to be known as the Gurusthan.
Devotees of Sai Baba believe that if one burns incense sticks here, he will be relieved of all his ailments. There is a little enshrine in Gurusthan where a big portrait of Baba is laid. Devotees and visitors can visit this place from 5 am to 10 pm.
The Shani Shingnapur Temple is dedicated to God Shani and is about 73 km from Shirdi. The village that houses the temple interestingly doesn’t have doors on their houses. This act stems from the villagers’ strong belief that their Lord Shaneshwara will protect them from all evil, including robbery and theft. It is said that any person who steals anything gets blinded on the same day as a punishment to his crime.
Lord Shani’s idol is large and made of black stone. Only male devotees are permitted to worship in the temple. The devotees should first take bath in the public bathrooms and then pray with wet dhotis without any upper garment.
Plenty of worshippers who visit Shirdi pay homage to the Shani God too. The temple is open for worship from 5 am to 10 pm.
The Samadhi Mandir is another site located in Shirdi. The story goes that a millionaire belonging to the city of Nagpur owned the Samadhi Mandir. He was an ardent devotee of Sai Baba and wished to enshrine a Muralidhar idol in the temple.
According to a mythological legend, Sai Baba himself adorned the form of Muralidhar and the holy place later went on to become the Samadhi Mandir. Late Balaji Vasant made Sai Baba’s idol in Italian marble, in 1954.
The Dixit Wada Museum is a small and charming little museum situated in Shridi. Located at the centre of the Sansthan complex, the museum contains some rare black and white photographs of Sai Baba. A few of his other clothing items, like his Kafni (a long robe), his leather padukas (chappals) and his smoking pipes are also on display.
Gramophone records, water tumblers, cooking utensils and bathing stone which were used by Baba are other things which can be seen at the museum. The museum is open for public to visit from 10 am to 6 pm.
The Khandoba Mandir is situated on the main road to Shirdi. The Khandoba is the presiding diety of the village. The temple has idols of Khandoba, Banai and Mhalsai. Legend has it that Baba came along with a marriage party and halted under a banyan tree. The priest at the temple welcomed Baba saying ‘Aao Sai’. The temple is open for visitors from 5 am to 10 pm.
Chavadi is a significant place related to Sai Baba’s life. Located in Shirdi, Sai Baba spent a significant portion of his last few years at Chavadi. He used to take a procession from Dwarkamai to Chavadi. The ritual of taking his procession down the same route is practised even today, every Thursday.
The Chavadi has two divisions – one of which has a large portrait of Shirdi. A white chair and a wooden bed that belonged to Baba can also be seen here.
The Upasani Maharaj Ashram is the ashram of a 20th Century saint who went by the same name. He was a fervent worshipper of Sai Baba. It is situated off the Shirdi-Ahmednagar State Highway. The Ashram of Upasani Maharaj is close to Shirdi. The samadhi of not only the Maharaj but also one of his disciples is placed within the ashram.
The ashram is open from 5 am to 10 pm for visitors and devotees.
Lendibagh is a beautifully decorated garden located on the Shirdi-Manmad State Highway. Sai Baba is believed to have spent a lot of time in this garden. Folklore has it that there was a stone that was brought from Lendibagh, and was used by the villagers of Shirdi to wash clothes.
However, one day they saw Baba sitting on it. Ever since then, the stone was brought to Dwarkamai and held as holy. At Lendibagh, don’t miss out on the Akhand Deep meaning, continuously burning lamp. It glows under the Peepal Tree that Baba himself had planted. The garden is open 24 hours for visitors.
The House of Laxmibai Shinde is one of the few most important sites in Shirdi. Any true follower of Sai Baba would know the significant role Laxmibai Shinde played in Baba’s life. Since the time Baba came to Shirdi, he begged for food from his neighbourhood. He always remembered the favours that Laxmibai obliged him with.
Hence, when Baba finally took Samadhi, i.e., left his body, he gave her a 5 Rupee note along with Rs. 4, summing it up to Rs. 9. Through this act, Baba wanted to stress upon the nine characteristics of a good disciple. Baba always gave Laxmibai money, but this last gift of Rs. 9 is remembered as the most significant by all.
Abdul Baba is one of Sai Baba’s most ardent worshippers and his cottage is a must-see for anyone who visits Shirdi. The cottage has some interesting memoirs that captured the time Baba himself spent there. It is small and its walls are coloured green. The cottage is located right opposite the Chavadi.
The main room of the house exhibits articles of Baba with Abdul. One photograph also captures Baba with Swami Chinmayanand. There is an alley behind Abdul Baba’s house which leads to Laxmibai Shinde’s house. The cottage can be visited any time between 7 am and 10 pm.