shirdi sai baba Also Read - Shirdi Observes Indefinite Bandh Against CM's Remark, Sai Baba Temple Opens as Usual

Shirdi, one of the most popular religious places in India attracts several thousand pilgrims every day. It is about 269 km away from Mumbai and takes more than five hours by road. However, Sai Baba devotees can rejoice as the new Shirdi airport developed by Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited (MADC) is all set to open next month i.e. May 2017. Also Read - Shirdi Bandh on Jan 19: Sai Temple to Remain Open Tomorrow

The airport is almost ready with a 2500 meter runway, a 3,000 sq m large terminal building and Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower in place. According to Vishwas M Patil, Chairman and MD, MADC, the flight operations will begin from next month onwards, he said in a statement to Times of India. Also Read - Shirdi to be Closed Indefinitely From January 19 Against Maharashtra CM's 'Birthplace' Remark

In the first half of 2017, the plan is to have four to five domestic flights daily with direct connections between Shirdi-Mumbai, Shirdi-Delhi, Shirdi-Hyderabad and more such cities. In the later half, MADC plans to have international flights as well. The airport is at par with international standards and they hope to attract foreign tourists to the place of worship as well with the opening of the airport. ALSO READ 8 unbelievable facts about Shirdi that you probably didn’t know

2017 also marks the centenary of Shirdi Sai Baba and celebrations will begin from October 1 to October 18. The Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Trust is expecting large number of pilgrims during this time and with the functional airport, the numbers are only going to rise. Patil aims to start international flights as well before the celebrations begin.

As of now, the closest airport to Shirdi is Nashik airport which is 75 km away. One can also reach Shirdi by road from different cities in Maharashtra. The closest railway station Sainagar Shirdi Railway Station is 5 km away from the temple and buses ply from the station to the temple free of cost. Trains from several Indian cities stop at this station. ALSO READ The ultimate 2-day Shirdi itinerary 

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