Nashik to Shirdi
Getting a good sleep only in the morning for few hours, they left from Nashik at around 9 am. But the day 15 involved a no. of twists and turns in their journey. Initially they had planned to make a stop- over at Ahmednagar, at a distance of 156 kms. from Nashik on NH- 50, but due to no suitable accommodation, they were advised to stop for the night at Shirdi instead, which is barely 80kms from Nashik on the same highway and a visit to the famous Sai temple was an added temptation.
However, no sooner did they leave from the hotel in Nashik, they had a flat tyre for the 5th time in 15 days. They found a shop nearby..
. .. the tyre-vaala fluked them off Rs.600 for ‘many- many’ punctures needed to be repaired!
They reached Shirdi only by 12 noon. After staying at hotels of all kinds- budget and others, defense guest house, college guest houses, tourist resorts.. finally it was time to check into a Dharamshala- Bhakt nivas Sai ashram!
and the stay here was incomplete without relishing the thaali at the langar which was free for all.
The dharamshala boasts of being the largest in the vicinity with one thousand rooms, and the charges are a mere Rs.500/- per room accounted for sanitation and cleanliness and no other charge. A Rs. 50/- note as a tip made the attendant quite happy and satisfied. The ladies had a nice nap in the afternoon and headed for the temple in the evening.
To their disappointment, since it was a Thursday, they could not manage to brave through the huge crowds to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. They were advised to go for the “senior- citizens” queue but there too it was a 4-5 hrs. long wait and returned to the ashram hoping to make a visit some other time in the distant future…
For now, they just relaxed, gobbled some left-over paranthas they saved from the breakfast in Nashik and prepared for the long drive for next day…