Last weekend I decided to have one day trip to Shirdi from Mumbai. It is a religious place and followers of Sai baba often visit this place. It is about 240 kms far from Mumbai and there are numerous buses that connect these two cities. I took a bus late night which was around 11 pm from Sion circle and I reached the holy place by 6 am. Generally the tickets are very cheap (AC sleeper ~ 500 INR) which one can buy from redbus, goibibo, etc.
After reaching there, one would certainly like to have good hotel so that you can start your visit after it. There are a lot of hotel along the highway which you would feel like a bit on the cheaper side compared to other cities in India. The cost of good hotel varies from 700-1000 for double bed for a day which I found reasonable given the cleanliness and look. The hotels in Shirdi are generally a bit on the cleaner side (inference drawn after looking 4-5 hotels). There is also Shirdi Sai Niwas, maintained by Sai trust and they provide good/cheap accommodation to families. Since I was looking for even more affordable accommodation, so I went on to explore hotels near Saibaba’s chawadi and entered the Palkhi road, which also leads to the entrance to the main temple. There are a lot of normal hotels along that road, so I finally took a double bed in Hotel Sai Shankar which costed me 500 INR (need to submit a valid ID card). Since I was planning to leave by late night on that very day, I just wanted a place to keep my belongings and rest. I would suggest to take hotel around that place as Temple is just walking distance from these hotels.
After finalising hotel, I took small nap for an hour or two. I woke up for breakfast at 9 am and went down to street to eat. You’ll find a number of shops and street vendors. I took vadapav and a glass of milk.
Eventually there two important place one should visit there
- Shani Mandir, Shignapur
- Sai baba temple
Shani Mandir, Shignapur (SMS) is around 80-90 kms from Shirdi. To be on conservative side to visit both places, I decided that I would visit SMS first and after returning I can anyway go to main Shirdi temple as it was near.
SMS is about 90 kms far from Shirdi and one can find regular transport from there. There are lot SUVs which run on sharing basis. One way tickets cost is 60 INR and it takes roughly 2 hours to reach SMS. I boarded at 9.30 am and reached SMS at 11.30 am. There is long queue generally from the visit, so it might take as long as 1-1.5 hrs to go around the whole temple. I took the same SUV for the return too (60 INR again) and reached back Shirdi at around 3pm. I was really tired with the long journey and also there is aarti scheduled in Sai temple at 6pm, so I decided to take 2 hour nap and then proceed to temple.
I woke up at 5 pm and got fresh to visit the main Shirdi temple. There is system of bio-metric ticket (free) for entry in temple. One has to submit footwear & camera gadgets (like camera, mobile, etc) before entering the temple. There is proper place for it, you’ll find it right in front of gate no. 1. After taking ticket you get in through the gates and proceed as per queue. The total time may range from 1-3 hrs to get inside the temple depending upon the rush.