Temples for Shirdi Sai exist all over the world and one more is coming up in Andhra Pradesh.
The consecration of the Sri Shirdi Saibaba temple in Mylapore, Chennai, recently marks yet another milestone in the movement that has a wide following. There are thousands of temples of Sri Saibaba in Andhra Pradesh alone. The State is known for its deep devotion to Sai. There are many temples of Saibaba in Delhi, Hariyana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, etc.
The movement has spread at an international level too with temples in the U.S., Australia, South Africa and so on. Every Thursday, about 500 to 600 devotees come together and offer prayers in front of Sai Baba’s portrait. There are over 100 such prayer centres. At one corner of a 120-year old church in Hyamshayar (Chicago), Saibaba’s idol has been installed and four Aartis performed sung every day.
The first temple of Sri Saibaba was established in 1982 in New York city of America. The devotees throng the Arora temple on Thursdays and Sundays. All festivals being celebrated by the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi, are also celebrated in this temple. The idol of Shri Saibaba installed in this temple was made by Mumbai’s idol maker Raju Talim. This idol was installed in 1998. Saibaba’s temples are also located at Sloshing and Waldvin in New York.
Dr. Karlin Macklane and Mery Roberts from America have selected the biography and preaching of Shri Saibaba for their Ph.D. thesis. They were in Shirdi for eight days and took the information of Shri Saibaba, Prasadalaya, hospitals, Bhakt-Niwas, etc.
There are five temples of Shirdi Saibaba in Australia with maximum crowd of devotees found in Sydney’s temple. In Canada also, there are two temples in Toronto and one in Vancouver. Singapore, Kenya, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maurutius, New Zealand, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain, Fiji, Bermuda, Norway and West Indies are among other countries where temples for the Shirdi deity exist.
Most of the idols of the gods and goddesses are made at Jaipur in Rajasthan, the artisans themselves devotees in many cases. Andhra Pradesh that leads in the number of Shirdi Sai temples will soon have another, at Nagaria, 35 km from Tirupati on the Madras–Tirupati road. It is on a hilly terrain, 300 to 400 feet above the ground level. This is the biggest project of Sri Saibaba in the country, coming up on a ten-acre land at a cost of Rs. 10 crores.
Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi, celebrates Sri Ramanavami, Sri Gurupournima and Sri Punyatithi every year. Hundreds of palanquins, accompanied by devotees, arrive to participate in the festivals.
Nine decades have passed since the Mahanirvan of Sri Saibaba.
Considering the increased influx of devotees, the chairman of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Jayant Sasane, vice-chairman Shankarrao Kolhe, Minister for Law and Judiciary, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and the board of trustees has completed projects including the huge Prasadalaya, Sri Saibaba Super Speciality Hospital, Dwarawati Bahaktani, etc.
‘Sai Ashram,’ for which devotee and software engineer K.V. Ramani has donated Rs. 100 crores will be completed within four months. The Sansthan Trust is drawing ujp a concrete action plan for the centenary of Saibaba’s Samadhi in 2018.
Keywords: Shirdi Saibaba