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Shirdi (Marathi: शिर्डी) is a town and falls under the jurisdiction of municipal councilpopularly known as Shirdi Nagar Panchayat, located in Rahata Tahasil (i.e. taluka) in Ahmednagar District in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is accessible via the Ahmednagar - Manmad State Highway No.10, approximately 83 km from Ahmednagar and 15 km from Kopargaon. It is located 185 km east of the Western Seashore line (the Ahmednagar - Manmad road), which is a very busy route. Shirdi is best known as the late 19th century home of the popular guru Shirdi Sai Baba.
Shirdi is located approximately 296 km from Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra in India.It is called the Land of Sai.Helicopter services are available to Shirdi. The helipad is owned by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust. One has to take the permission of the trust to land here. Shirdi now has a new railway station called "Sainagar Shirdi", which became operational in March 2009. Currently, one daily train, the Shirdi Fast Passenger, connects Shirdi railway station to Mumbai CST. Trains also run from Manmad station which is 83 km from the heart of Shirdi, alternatively from Kopargaon station which is 12 km from Shirdi, or Nashik city, which is 119 km from Shirdi or Nagarsol. Daund railway station is 200 km from Shirdi. Buses and taxis ply from these railway stations and locations to and from Shirdi. Shirdi can be reached by bus from any of the following cities in Maharashtra State (India): Mumbai, Pune, Vashi, Panvel, Thane, Nashik, Akluj, Dhule, Nagpur and Aurangabad. Currently, four-laning of State highway Nagar-Manmad highway is in progress on BOT basis and should be completed by Mid-2010. Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has been assigned to execute the works of internal roads in Shirdi. Soon, Shirdi will have its own airport by 2012. It is to be located at Kakdi, some 14 km towards south-east of Shirdi. Land acquisition is in progress for the airport work.
As of the 2001 India census, the population of Shirdi stood at 26,169. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Shirdi has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 76%, and female literacy is 62%. In Shirdi, 15% of the population is under 6 years of age. . But, Shirdi being a pilgrimage centre, it also has a large amount of floating population. On any given day some 25,000 devotees come for darshan. On holidays the number reaches to about half a million people. Due to easy availability of jobs, a lot of migrant population, mainly of unskilled labourers from UP, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh etc. also reside here. They are not part of any census.
Shirdi is a town in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra in India. It is located 185 km east of the Arabian Sea shoreline. Shirdi was where the saint Sai Baba lived till his samadhi in 1918. Today, it is a pilgrimage center and millions of his devotees from all over the world come each year to pay their respects.
The best time of the year to visit Shirdi is January through March. April to June is the hot summer, followed by the monsoon. Pilgrim arrival peaks between September and November when many Hindu festivals occur. Baba's death anniversary is commemorated in the month of October, the exact date depending on the Hindu calendar.
There are many buses connecting Shirdi to cities such as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Nashik. The road connectivity between Mumbai and Shirdi is good, except in certain stretches. Convenient overnight buses also ply this route. It takes around 7 hours from Mumbai to Shirdi.
Trains from Mumbai, Pune and Nashik are available. Nearest Railway station is Shirdi Sai Nagar, Manmad and Kopergoan
Shirdi has no airport. The nearest airports are at Nasik, Mumbai and Pune.
Shirdi is not a big town. As the town has grown around its main attraction - the Sai Baba temple - almost all major sights and sounds are all within walking distances from anywhere in Shirdi.
The main attractions are the Temple where Sai Baba's samadhi is located, the former dwelling place of Sai Baba called Dwarakamayi, and the place called Chavadi where Baba used to sleep. These 3 are located close to each other.
Mobile phones and cameras are prohibited within the temple premises.
Apart from visiting the temple and other places connected to Sai Baba, there is precious little to do in Shirdi.
There are a large number of shops that sell trinkets and souvenirs - statues, magnets, stickers, books, photos of Sai Baba. Prices are generally negotiable.
Restaurants are liberally dotted over Shirdi. A variety of cuisines including Gujarati, Maharashtrian, South Indian, Continental are available. Most restaurants serve only vegetarian fare.
Cold drinks and bottled water are available in many local stores. Fresh coconut water is also available. However, liquor is not available in the town.
Solo travellers will find it difficult to obtain accommodation - even if they are willing to pay for a double room, due to some obscure local laws that discourage hotels from renting out rooms to solo travellers. This applies even if the person has made an online reservation and paid for a double room. Having an identity proof (passport, drivers license etc) along with a return ticket may help to establish one's credentials, but obtaining a room for a solo traveller largely depends on the person's negotiation and persuasive skills.
There is no dearth of accommodation in Shirdi. Hotels of all categories abound. However, not all of them are value for money so insist on checking the facilities in the room before paying. In peak season, it is advisable to have prior reservations, which can be made either over phone or through travel websites.
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