Shirdi is one of most important pilgrimage town of the state Maharastra of India . Sai Baba is the presiding deity of the shrine around which the town’s economy runs.Sai Baba was a 19th century saint who brought together people from all faiths.Today, the small town with a registered population of a little over 36,000 people provides employment to thousands of migrant laborers and soothes the souls of devotees who queue up for hours to seek the blessings of the departed saint.
We believe in the magic and blessing of Shirdi Sai Baba and on the launch of our website, we feel blessed to share the six interesting facts about Sai Baba & Shirdi –
1. Shirdi welcomes 60,000 visitors every day : By some estimates the figures can go as high as 100,000 over the weekends and can go as high as 500,000 during auspicious days such as Gurupoornima, Dussehra and Ramnavami.
2. The temple was once privately owned ! : The holy temple of Shirdi was constructed in 1922,four years after Sai Baba’s death,the shrine was commissioned and privately owned by one Shrimant Gopalrao,a millionaire from Nagpur,who was a devotee of Sai Baba.Today it is owned and run by the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust .
3.Then there was a gentleman who donated… wait for it… Rs 110 crore! : Talking of rich devotees, this is KV Ramani, the co-founder of NASSCOM.When he isn’t setting the tone for public policy for the Indian software industry or founding successful software firms, Ramani donates his money to the saint of Shirdi.The philanthropist has been donating 80 per cent of his earnings to the Shirdi Sai Trust.In 2012 he donated Rs 110 crore to the trust to build an ashram that can accommodate 14,000 devotees!
4.You can travel all the way from Jagannath Dham Puri in Odisha to Shirdi : The town’s railway station, Sainagar Shirdi is well connected by over a dozen trains to several major cities and towns around the country. Sainagar Shirdi that became operational in March 2009 is a major terminus on the Central Railway line with trains connecting it to places as far flung as Kolkata and Puri. The Sainagar Shirdi – Puri Express leaves every Sunday from Sainagar Shirdi and takes about 29 hours to complete the journey of 1,619 km to Puri. Sainagar Shirdi – Kolkata Howrah Junction Superfast Express takes about 26 hours to complete the journey from Sainagar Shirdi to Kolkata’s Howrah Junction, a distance of 1,790 km.
5. Shirdi’s literacy rate is more than the national average : According to the 2011 census, Shirdi’s average literacy rate is 70 per cent with male literacy at 76 per cent and female literacy at 62 per cent. The national average literacy rate is 59.5 per cent.
6. The Actor who played Shirdi Sai Baba : This actor played Sai Baba so well, people began worshiping him too.Sudhir Dalvi played the role of Sai Baba in the 1977 movie Shirdi Ke Sai Baba.The movie that broke all records made Dalvi a household name. Sai Baba devotees who would spot him on the streets would fall at his feet and seek his blessings.Ironically, the success of the movie did almost nothing for his career. According to industry gossip, filmmakers refused to cast him in other roles.After all how can a man who played god play anything else on the screen?