New Delhi: The temple town of Shirdi in Maharashtra, known for the 19th-century saint Sai Baba, will be ‘closed indefinitely’ from January 19 as a mark of protest against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s recent comment describing Pathri in Parbhani district as the birth place of the revered saint and allocating Rs 100 crore for its development. Also Read - Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Trust Receives Rs 287 Crore Donation in 2019, More Than Last Year
The decision to call for an indefinite shutdown was taken by the administrative body of Sai Baba Samadhi. Also Read - Tushar Dalvi, The New Sai Baba of Mere Sai - Shraddha Aur Saburi TV Show Talks About Replacing Abeer Soofi
Speaking to news agency ANI, Bhausaheb Wakchaure, Sai Baba Sansthan Trust member, said, “We have announced to close Shirdi against rumours from 19 January. A meeting of villagers will be convened tomorrow evening to discuss the issue. Devotees will not face any difficulty if they come to Shirdi.” Also Read - Shirdi Sai Baba's Image Appears on The Wall of Dwarkamai Temple, Devotees Believe he Came to Give 'Darshan'
The local residents are reportedly ‘extremely upset’ at Chief Minister’s describing of Pathri as Sai Baba’s birthplace. Locals argue that there is no document available about Sai Baba’s birthplace and say that Sai Baba himself never shared any information about his birthplace or religion during his stay in Shirdi.
While the town will observe an indefinite shutdown, the temple itself along with all its units has been kept outside of the purview of the bandh. Similarly, the buses of Maharashtra State Regional Transport Corporation (MSRTC) will ply on roads and the hotels will function as usual.
However, public transport is likely to be affected and could pose hurdles to tourists visiting the temple town by air or by train.