Shirdi is one of the most popular and most sacred pilgrimage destinations in Maharashtra, as well as across India. Recognized and revered for the holy sanctum of the legendary saint, Sai Baba, Shirdi attracts devotees, pilgrims, and even the intrigued believers from all around the country.
Shirdi is located in the district of Ahmednagar, in central Maharashtra and is well-connected by railways, highways, and air to all major towns and cities of India. The nearest cities to Shirdi are Nashik, Pune, and Mumbai, of which Mumbai is a major junction for many travelers, visiting from other states.
Find the best travel option
Whether it’s a two-hour drive or a day-trip, it needs to be a comfortable ride and convenient for you. If you are traveling from a place, which is too long to cover by road, it makes sense to take a flight or a train. But if you are traveling from within Maharashtra or neighboring regions, the best thing to do is to take a car. More so, if you are traveling with senior adults, children, or ailing people. You can easily book a comfortable and licensed taxi from Mumbai to Shirdi or from Nashik and Pune from the several online options car rentals available online these days, which you can hire at an affordable cost. It takes somewhere between two to five hours, depending on which city you are traveling from. When renting a car, look for tour packages for pilgrimage or otherwise, wherein you will get the car service, temple visits, local tours, and also day trips to other popular locales nearby.
Travel at the right time/season
Shirdi’s geographical location makes its weather patterns extreme. Summers are very hot and dry with temperatures rising above 40 degrees (Celsius). Winters are very cold but manageable. Unless you must travel in these seasons, you can choose to travel during the monsoon months, which is the best season in the state. Also, the enhanced greenery makes it more scenic. Additionally, avoid visiting during peak festival times, when the temple town receives the maximum crowd. Unless you are visiting for religious reasons, you can skip the festival days or auspicious days, particularly, if you traveling only to explore. If you at all want to see a festival celebration in Shirdi, then you should plan and book your travel and accommodation much in advance to avoid the last-minute rush.
Take the best route
The geographical location of Shirdi also makes it interesting for a tour of the countryside of Maharashtra. Depending on your point of origin, you will be taking a different route. However, each of these roads has interesting places to see on the way. Let’s take the Mumbai to Shirdi route for instance since it’s the most popular one. There are two route options, mostly used by travelers.
• Via Ghoti – Shirdi Rd and NH160 – 239.1 km – 4.5 hours
• Via NH61 – 266 km – 5.5 hours
Of these, the first one is the shortest and fastest. Also, this stretch is more scenic. It passes through the greener hinterlands with small villages, towns, and a lot of natural beauty for a visual treat. When you book a reliable and top-rated Mumbai taxi, you can also include stopovers at any of these places and make your journey more holistic. Here are some of the popular places to stop between Mumbai and Shirdi.
Asangaon: 71 Km from Mumbai
Considered as an extended, remote suburb to Greater Mumbai, Asangaon is a quiet, little, semi-urban town. Surrounded by the verdant environment of the Western Ghats, it has evolved in ecotourism, farms, and nature retreats.
Vihigaon: 115 Km from Mumbai
The otherwise unassuming village is home to the famous Vihi Falls. The perennial cascade and its adjoining hilly areas make for a great destination for trekking and hiking, while the falls and its catchment area are popular for water sports.
Igatpuri: 121 Km from Mumbai
This is perhaps the biggest highlight of the Mumbai-Shirdi route and will make your journey truly memorable. The picturesque town is home to the famous International Vipassana Center, known for its spiritual retreat and breathtaking architecture. You can take a quick detour from the highway and stop by to see the gigantic stupa and the huge campus devoted to meditation, spiritual healing, and wellness programs. Igatpuri also boasts plenty of farms and waterfalls and the Kavnai Fort, which are also en route.
Sinnar: 222 Km from Mumbai
Another quiet and quaint town near Shirdi, Sinnar is known for ancient stone temples that date back to the days of Maharashtra’s royalty. Many pilgrims also visit some of these temples as a part of their pilgrimage to Shirdi.
The entire idea of visiting a sacred site is to fulfill your faith or to seek divine intervention. Even if it is for leisure reasons, you would want to ensure that your journey is fulfilling. Hence, when you plan well and with the right resources, you can ensure a great trip!