About 15 – 17 years back I was at my sister’s in laws place located in Igatpuri for some reason. They run a hotel in Igatpuri and I found that @5 am in morning they were making there hotel ready with enough snacks and eateries when I enquired what’s so special about the day my Jijaji said that today Sai Palkhi are going to pass through Igatpuri. As I was still not satisfied with the answer as I have not witnessed earlier what a Sai palkhi means.
Anyways I was given the task to sit at counter and just collect the money I replied that is very easy task as others were getting ready with there table other difficult stuff. I was asked to not argue with anyone and keep whatever amount is par by padyatris as they do not go without paying.
I remember those were hot sunny days of April and the Palkhi was on occasion of Ramnawami. At about 830 9 am I found group of people arriving slowly from roadside and to my astonishment all the tables in the hotel were packed still the group were still ‘on’.
I first time witnessed such form of devotion i.e. walking from Mumbai to Shirdi for having darshan of beloved SaiBaba. At that moment a desire automatically came in my heart that even I someday by SaiBaba’s grace will go walking. At that time I was not follower of SaiBaba I just knew that he is a holy man who used chamatkar for fulfilling devotees dreams.
Days passed on and some years later my family faced tremendous problem I needed someone whom I should be able to share all my problem and seek help. And that day itself I saw a banner for Nasik to Shirdi padyatra all my memories come live and I decided that I will seek SaiBaba as my refuge for all my good and bad days.
Bas… that’s how my 1st padyatra it came in reality…
I never thought of doing padyatra from Mumbai but all credit to Sachin Nath who posted his first write up in 2012 when he visited Shirdi walking from Mumbai. Sachin has described his leg were operated and he was in pain still after proper exercise and planning he managed to walk 45 km a day to reach Shirdi in just 5 days from Mumbai whereas we took 2.5 to 3 days to reach from Nasik. I called Sachin immediately and enquired if I can join him for Palkhi but due to some reasons he was not going to make for Palkhi for that year.
Next year l called Sachin and he advised me to go with Palkhi which walk 35 to 40 km a day which is good for someone like me (beginner) and he gave me number of Anil Devsekar ji. But the Palkhi he suggested used to go in December month only as I have desire to go in month of April (due to earlier Igatpuri instance) I decided to go by the same Palkhi which I first noticed in Igatpuri and I started getting information from Google. And one fine day I visited to Sai Sevaks office at Dadar which unfortunately was closed I came back home but luckily I got mobile number of core committee member Mr. Desaiji and called him this time he asked me to come at Parel office and I got enrolled for 2013 Palkhi procession.
I was so happy experiencing such a grand occasion that I decided to attend every year SaiSevak Palkhi but next year due to some problem I could not attend the Palkhi in April and meanwhile Sachin posted his second Palkhi experience and I called Anilji whose mobile no. Was still with me and joined palkhi procession in December 2014.
There is lot which everyone experiences after coming in contact with SaiBaba. I feel I am very timid to describe those divine experiences and I think such experience can’t be shared as no word can correctly explain it.
Palkhi procession for me is the easiest way to stay with SaiBaba. Only when SaiBaba calls us we get to go to Shirdi. I’m thankful to all those who have made my dream come in reality some of whom I want to name are
Vikas Bhatt (my friend at first Palkhi procession from Nasik)
Dhanu Bhau (organizer of Nasik Palkhi)
Ashok Desaiji (Sai Sevaks Core member)
Anilji Devsekar (Organizer Vikhroli Palkhi) some others who are always near to my heart as we share some bonding at Palkhi Piyush Ramavat and group, Kiran Bhau, Nagesh Bhau, Siddhesh Bhau, Mangesh, Vikas, Bhushan
Jay Dixit, Manoj, Dr. Vijay, Satish, and of course, my family who are source of my power and inspiration.
I would like to end my write up stating it is very easy to walk and complete the journey from …… To Shirdi but it’s really a challenging task to keep SaiBaba in your mind and do continuous sumiran’ of his leelas and bhajans all the time without break.
The one is lucky who by grace of SaiBaba is able to remember him at each stroke of heart beat and his eyes search him at every living and non living thing.
I pray to SaiBaba to give devotee the essence of true devotion which is to feel SaiBaba all the time everywhere everyplace and realize that his watchful eyes are always with us within us.