Friday, September 23, 2011
To Shirdi from Mumbai
The best mode to get to Shirdi from Mumbai is by taking a bus, preferably a Volvo or a sleeper bus which would cost about 300 for a point to point or a one way trip. The buses are available in abundance from Dadar and starts to Shirdi from early in the morning to late in the night. Shirdi is roughly about 250 kms and takes about 5 to 6 hours to reach. You do get trains but will have to get down at Manmad and travel another 15 to 20 kms to reach Shirdi.
The first thing that strikes about Shirdi is that the roads are pretty dusty and dirty. To add to it, there will be a bunch of guides who would swarm around and begin to walk with you, acting as your guide without a hint of approval from your side. The best thing to do is to shoo them away and make your own search on whatever you are looking for, as these guides are quiet inclined to drive you to their points of interest.
The entire place around the Sai Baba temple has mushroomed with a lot of lodges, many low grade, handful of good grade and a few higher grade lodges. This simply signifies the existence of a competitive market, so if you spend some time and hunt, you can be assured of getting whatever sort of lodge you are looking for. The price for a 12 hour stay would range from 200 to about 1400 depending on what kind of lodge you opt for. Mostly likely, a decent to a good lodge can be booked within a range of 800 to 1000.
The darshan can be done in about one and a half to two hours time on a special day like Thursday and probably much earlier on other days. Once the darshan is done and you are out of the temple, the only the other option left is to do some shopping, which wont take more than an hour or so. Again there are too many shops selling the same products, so there is definite bargain available if you are willing to check a few shops.
There are a few other places in Shirdi but they gave an impression of being a bit too insignificant and hence I really didn’t think of visiting them. Once you are done with darshan and shopping then you are pretty much done with Shirdi and can pack your bags to get back home.
The whole trip to Shirdi can be done in one day from Mumbai if you start early in the morning, let’s say at 6 am, Shirdi will be reached by 12 noon, find a good lodge, freshen up and have your lunch. By 2 pm, begin your darshan and by 4 pm you should be out of the temple, add another one hour for some shopping and by 5 pm you are done with Shirdi and can take your bus back to Mumbai, reaching home by 11 pm.
However, if you are inclined to explore and it’s alright to get back home the next day then you can try Shani Shinghnapur, it’s Shaniswarar Temple about 70 kms from Shirdi. The temple is quiet neat and pleasant and couples well with a cool trip that would take you through a lot of green fields along the path to Shinghnapur. There are quiet a lot of cabs available and will charge you Rs. 100 for an up and down trip. This whole trip to Shani Shinghnapur will take 5 hours, 4 hours on traveling to and fro and about an hour spent in the temple and shopping.
Jai Sri Sai Baba!!!