Shirdi is a small hamlet in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The small hamlet is 100 km from Nashik. It is today a bustling pilgrimage center of India. Shirdi was the abode of Sai Baba, the great saint and ideal figure of the 20th century. The saint used to live in Shirdi for more than 50 years of his life. He built the small village a big pilgrimage place for devotees. Fans throng to this holy destination not only from different parts of India but also from all over the world.
Sai Baba entered this village when he was only 16 years of age. He looked under a neem tree and was absorbed in a hard self-mortification. The saint dedicated his entire life for the upliftment of the poor and the suffering. The saint’s origin and early life are embraced in mystery. He is conceived to be an incarnation of lord Shiva. The whole hamlet and every nook and corner of it have some connection with the great saint. The great saint left for celestial home in 1918 and his Samadhi is visited by thousands of tourists and holidaymakers even today.
Chandbhai, the headman of a village called Dhoopkhede (in Aurangabad, India), once lost his horse and was looking for it. Suddenly he heard a voice say "You look tired. come here and rest a while". He turned around and saw a young Fakir . The fakir smiled at him and said "What are you looking for in this jungle, Chandbhai". Chandbhai was surprised and he wondered how the fakir knew his name. Slowly, he said "I have lost my horse. I have looked for it everywhere, but cannot seem to find it". The fakir told him to look behind a clump of trees. Chandbhai was pleasantly surprised to find his horse grazing peacefully behind those trees. He thanked the fakir and asked his name. The fakir said "some people call me Sai Baba."
Sai Baba then invited Chandbhai to have a smoke with him. He got the pipe ready, but there was no fire to light it with. Sai Baba thrust a pair of tongs into the ground and brought out a burning coal. Chandbhai was wonderstruck. He thought "this is no ordinary person" and invited Baba to come to his house and be his guest for a few days.
Next day Baba went to Chandbhai's house and found everybody in a very joyful mood and festivities going on all around. He found that Chandbhai's wife's nephew was getting married. The bride was from Shirdi and the marriage party was going to Shirdi. Chandbhai invited Baba to accompany the marriage party to Shirdi. At Shirdi they camped in a field next to Khandoba's temple.
After the wedding, Saibaba stayed on at Shirdi. At first he lived under a neem tree and begged for food whenever he needed it. He then went to Khandoba's temple, intending to stay there, but the temple priest met him at the entrance and told him to go to the mosque. That is how Baba, started staying at the Mosque which was later called Dwarkamayi.
Baba preached at Shirdi all his life and performed numerous miracles to convince people that God exists. He healed people's diseases, provided moral and material comfort to his devotees. Baba helped bring Unity and Harmony between all communities. He said that God is one, but called by different names. He said follow your own religion and seek the truth.
One day a rich millionaire named Booty came to Sai Baba and said he was going to construct a stone building for Shri Krishna. Baba helped him plan the building. Before the building was completed Baba fell very ill. On the 15th of October 1918, he breathed his last. His last wish was to be buried in Booty's building.
Booty's stone building came to be known as the Samadhi Mandir. Shri Sai Baba was buried here and a beautiful shrine was built over it. To this day, people flock to Shirdi to pay homage to Shri Sai Baba.
The tourist destination where Sai Baba came as a Bal Yogi is acknowledged as Gurusthan. There is a temple at this site and a small shrine in Gurusthan. The village of Shirdi is full of frShirdince with the devotional strength of devotees from throughout the world. The village is located highly on the world map of spiritualism. The streets of the sanctum town are full of shops which sell Sai Baba record of his life. Any one can explore the holy place easily. The destination is well originated and is associated by bus routes.