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1. Shirdi welcomes 30,000 visitors every day

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Today on an average thirty thousand people visit Shirdi everyday. The number runs into several lakhs on significant occasions.  Persons from high offices of government line up to bow down to Shri Sai.  There are adequate facilities to meet the demands of a cross section of devotees coming from all parts of the country and abroad.  Shirdi is emerging as the top most pilgrim centre of India. At the time of Baba, about 20 to 125 people used to visit Him every day. But today, the average crowd visiting Shirdi is about 30 to 35 thousand persons a day and the number is ever on the increase. To meet this contingency the Temple administration has launched an expansion scheme of the temple premises.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”30″][vc_column_text]

2. The temple was once privately owned!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The stunning temple that stands at the center of Shirdi’s economy was constructed in 1922, four years after Sai Baba’s death, the shrine was commissioned and privately owned by one Shrimant Gopalrao, a millionaire from Nagpur, who was a devotee of Sai Baba. Today it is owned and run by the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”30″][vc_column_text]

3. And then there was a gentleman who donated… wait for it… Rs 110 crore!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Talking of rich devotees, this is KV Ramani, the co-founder of NASSCOM. When he isn’t setting the tone for public policy for the Indian software industry or founding successful software firms, Ramani donates his money to the saint of Shirdi. The philanthropist has been donating 80 per cent of his earnings to the Shirdi Sai Trust. In 2012 he donated Rs 110 crore to the trust to build an ashram that can accommodate 14,000 devotees! We’ll let those numbers sink in.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”30″][vc_column_text]

4. This actor played Sai Baba so well, people began worshiping him too

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Sudhir Dalvi’s most prominent role was as Sai Baba in the 1977 movieShirdi Ke Sai Baba. The movie that broke all records made Dalvi a household name. Sai Baba devotees who would spot him on the streets would fall at his feet and seek his blessings. Ironically, the success of the movie did almost nothing for his career. According to industry gossip, filmmakers refused to cast him in other roles. After all how can a man who played god play anything else on the screen?[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”30″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1477486076712{padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”]

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5. Jackie Shroff gave up smoking and drinking while shooting for a film on Sai Baba in Shirdi

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The ’80s heartthrob, Jackie Shroff, also played the saint in a 2010 film called Malik Ek. In interviews to media houses, Shroff confirmed that he’d given up smoking and drinking while he shot for the film. The movie vanished without a trace and if Jackie Shroff had any hopes of renewing his flagging career, they were dashed.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”30″][vc_column_text]

6. The Malaysian government wants to invest in Shirdi’s airport

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]In October this year, the Government of Maharashtra received a bid from the Malaysian Government which has expressed interest in taking over the operations of Shirdi’s airport. For a cost of Rs 1500 crore.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”30″][vc_column_text]

7. You can travel all the way from Puri in Odisha to Shirdi

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The town’s railway station, Sainagar Shirdi is well connected by over a dozen trains to several major cities and towns around the country. Sainagar Shirdi that became operational in March 2009 is a major terminus on the Central Railway line with trains connecting it to places as far flung as Kolkata and Puri. The Sainagar Shirdi – Puri Express leaves every Sunday from Sainagar Shirdi and takes about 29 hours to complete the journey of 1,619 km to Puri. Sainagar Shirdi – Kolkata Howrah Junction Superfast Express takes about 26 hours to complete the journey from Sainagar Shirdi to Kolkata’s Howrah Junction, a distance of 1,790 km.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”30″][vc_column_text]

8. Shirdi’s literacy rate is more than the national average

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]According to the 2011 census, Shirdi’s average literacy rate is 70 per cent with male literacy at 76 per cent and female literacy at 62 per cent. The national average literacy rate is 59.5 per cent.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]