Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pune to Shirdi and Shani Shinganapur - Our one day trip


Sunday, 08 April 2012
People : Abinash, Sachin, Kushal, and Me
We started the trip from Magarpatta city, Pune at 5.15 am. We were late by about 30 mins, but wasn't much of a problem.

We took the Pune-Nasik route and the road was bad. (The best route is to take the Ahmadnagar road). At 7.30 am, we had breakfast at a place called Kamat's. There was car parking, toilet facilities, and decent+expensive food.

We reached Shirdi at 11 am. We left our slippers, mobile and other belongings at the car. Later we realized that leaving the slippers in the car was a big mistake because walking barefoot literally burned our foot.
Lesson : if you are visiting a hot place, always wear (inexpensive) slippers and leave them at the temple entrance.

When we entered the temple premises, a couple of shopkeepers misguided us and made us buy a lot of prasad and pooja items. That was mistake number 2. Don't be fooled by some strangers who are accosting you. Take your time, analyze the place and then buy only when necessary.
On reaching the temple's main gate, we came to know that the Darshan is closed from 11 to 1 pm. So we spent some time within the temple premises visiting the other smaller shrines.
We visited the dargah where Shirdi baba spent his childhood days. We also visited the museum which has the photos and items that belonged to Shirdi baba.

At 1 pm, we started lining up for the darshan at Gate 1. As it was Sunday, there was a lot of rush. We stood in a kind of managed queue  system where within the railings there were benches to sit (which was useful). The queue passed through 3 huge halls. And finally we hit the main hall which houses the statue of Shirdi baba. We gave the pooja items and the prasad to the priest sitting infront of the statue. We did our darshan for about 30 seconds and the service folks quickly escorted us out. It was 2.30 pm by then. We came out of the temple and jumped into the car.
Our next desitnation was Shani Shinganapur - the town without doors or locks. It was an 80 km drive from Shirdi.

Legend has it that Shani bhagwan descended into this village in the form of a 5 foot stone one fine day. The villagers, after seeing the stone, were naturally curious and started piercing the stone with a sharp tool. To their surprise, they saw blood oozing out of the stone.  Yes, blood.

Following the blood oozing incident, during the next few days, the villagers started reporting that they were getting dreams where Shani bagwan spoke to them - asking them to erect him (the stone) on a platform without any roofing. Its like, the stone should be erected on an open space. The whole idea is about openness. This explains why all the houses and shops in the Shinganapur town do not have doors or locks. People don't really bother about their belongings as they believe that Shani bhagwan will bring it back. They also believe that Shani would punish the wrong-doers, which is the reason why the locals are scared about stealing.

So yeah, we reached Shani real quick. The darshan was straightforward. Just park the car, enter the temple, pray, and exit. Its not as time-consuming or as procedural as Shirdi.

We also took some sesame oil and poured it at a particular spot near Shani's shrine. According to legend, Shani was once injured by Hanuman. They say one must pour oil on Shani to alleviate his pains. To understand more, you might want to check Dr Robert Svoboda's beautiful book : The Greatness of Saturn
That was it. We took the Pune-Ahmadnagar highway in the evening, and reached our place at night. Overall, it was a nice day out (one day is more than enough). It is better to go on a Saturday (because of Shani).

49 comments:

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