My wish was fulfilled last year by Saibaba and so this year I agreed to go on Padayatra to Shirdi on the fulfillment of my wish.
Accordingly, I was looking for the sources and finally I discovered the group on website www.shirdipadayatra.com (developed by Shri Sachin Nath, Hyderabad) wherein so many Mandal’s details are provided including padayatra experience of Shri Sachin Nath. I was looking for my suitable leave availability and by Sai’s blessings I got the Mumbai based Mandal, namely Om Shri Sai Sevak Padayatra Mandal, Park Site, Vikhroli (W), Mumbai – 400 079, who are organizing Padayatra with sai-palanquin in December every year. Accordingly I contacted sai sevak and after preliminary discussions with them, I filled-in their prescribed Form and enrolled my name.
My experience regarding the Padayatra to Shirdi is one of the memorable events in my life; it added not only thrill but also more spirituality in my life. I had been to Shirdi so many times by vehicle, but Padayatra was exciting one. My first visit to Shirdi was at the age of 6 with my mom, when I got tears in my eye after seeing the idol of Shri Sadguru Saibaba and became emotional.
People never easily get ready for such hard devotion, lot of questions would arise in their mind, but I have never thought about how difficult it will be to walk all the way to shirdi from mumbai; I simply joined the group without thinking about the consequences.
Initially I did not think that any group would be so caring, but on the enrollment itself the organizers of Om Shri Sai Sevak Padayatra Mandal showed how caring and well organized they were and I really Sai is settled my mind to join this group. I really experienced & appreciate their management skill, treatment, caring towards padayatris, till end of journey, they have balanced everything.
The great discipline seen in the group, with having uniform dressing.
Total alcoholic things and consuming any kind of tobacco products were banned during whole Padayatra.
There was harmony in the group; everyone has been treated as a Sai.
All sai-devotees were calling each other as Sai Ram only and by no other name.
Sevak was ready to help voluntarily to the padayatris and serves the food and carryout the body massage if required to any padayatri and tried to cover every left out yatris at end.
Like Shirdi Samadhi Mandir’s Aarti timings, all 4 Aartis were being done during our entire Padayatra to Shirdi. Of course, early in the morning (Kakad Aarti) it is not possible, because everyone is tired so the morning time was considered between 5:30 to 6:00 however other 3 Aartis (Madhyanna Aarti, Sanj Dhoop Aarti & Shejarti) were done on time. Aarti books were provided to each Padayatri by Sevak. Regular Naivaidhyam was offered to Sai. I was wondering that how fast Palanquin was reaching to the shelter spot. Everyday Palanquin was cleaned up by devotees and fresh garland was offered to our Saibaba. Being my first experience, I was slow in walking but with Sai’s blessings I managed to attend all Aartis regularly. I was more excited while walking on Kasara Ghat.
Proper mass accommodation was provided with ground cover.
Fees was very nominal, I’m surprised how such superb treatment is possible with such nominal charges.
Out whole journey by walk to shirdi was environment friendly.
Mandal has shown great contribution towards the environment preservation.
- Thermocol plates are totally avoided.
- Dining steel plates are washed and sanitized with hot water.
- Paper dishes were provided for breakfast.
- All waste was properly disposed-off and maintained cleanness at every spot.
Security & Safety of Padayatris:
Group was really taking care of padayatris for their safety and securities.
Marshall Sevak was using safety jacket & whistle to delineate the vehicle passing through.
Taken maximum care towards hygienic food and mineral water to drink so that no devotee should fall sick and walk till Samadhi mandir in joyful manner and have great satisfactory darshanam of Shri Sadguru Saibaba.
Nimbupani, (lemon-water), mineral water, Chocolates, Biscuits were served at every interval with unlimited quantities.
Morning 6:00 tea with biscuits & 9.00 breakfast, 1:30 pm lunch and 9:30 pm dinner.
Providing hot/simple water for bath to all, so that no devotee should run here & there to search water for bath, in river, pond, well, dam, any villager’s home etc., from security point of view.
Participants in Shirdi Padayatra Organized by Om Shri Sai Sevak Padayatra Mandal:
High profile personalities had joined the group like Engineer, Doctor (MS), Finance Professionals. Inter-state devotees (senior citizens from Andhra Pradesh) also joined the group.
I will not be having any doubt if I, again wish to join the Padayatra.
Maximum sai-devotees should take experience of such Padayatra, once in a life.
My few suggestions:
All the Sai Mandals who organizes such Padayatra should come together to offer the following services to the Sai padayatris.
Construct Walkway side the road to avoid accident.
To provide accommodation during the interval in places such as Bhiwandi, Shahapur, Igatpuri, Ghoti.
Create awareness among the road user towards Padayatris.
Provide medical facilities to the Padayatris.
Thanks to the group and organizers for helping us to fulfill our commitment towards Sai.
My warm regards to you all.
Gundal Sadashiv Mallappa
Om Sai Ram