About 600 meters away from Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Khandoba Mandir is one of the best places to visit in Shirdi. This tiny, well-kept and quiet temple is dedicated to the deity of Khandoba (an incarnation of Lord Shiva). The stone deity of Lord Khandoba is placed at the center of the temple. In addition to the main deity, there are two small idols within the temple premises, one is Sai Baba's idol and his Charan Padukas, and the other is the idol of the priest Mhalsapati. Besides, a rectangular sandpit is also located in front of the Khandoba Temple which was used for fire-walking in earlier days. Now a day, this tradition has stopped but still during the annual festival of Champa Shashti, devotees walk on heated coals in the accompaniment of bhajans.
Khandoba Temple, Shirdi holds great importance not only because of its ancient history but also for being connected with Sai Baba. It’s believed that Baba came to Shirdi for the second time together with the marriage procession of Chand Patil. On the way, the procession halted at the entrance of Khandoba Temple and the main priest Mhalsapati welcomed Baba saying, “Aao Sai”. Since then, Baba, whose real name was not known to all, came to be known as Sai Baba. It's also said that Baba liked the peace and sanctity of the temple and wanted to make this temple as his residence, but Mahalsapati thought him to be a Muslim and did not allow him to stay there. Later, as per the legend, Baba left the temple in a very humble manner and made an empty mosque (Dwarkamai) his home and lived there till his last breath.
Apart from the historical facts, Shri Khandoba Mandir Shirdi Maharashtra is an epitome of simplicity and harmony and also boost as one of the most important temples of Lord Khandoba. The main temple dedicated to the deity Khandoba and it is situated at Jejuri, near Pune. So, let’s deepens your inner sense of self and brings calmness to the mind.
Festival and Events:
Khandoba Temple, Shirdi is famous for celebrating the Champa Shashti Festival. The six-day long Champa Shashti Festival held every year in the month of December. During this festival, the whole village and devotees show their respect and devotion by walking on the hot coals along with singing Bhajan.
Moreover, there is a mythological story behind Champa Shashti Festival. It’s believed that Mal and Mani named demons performed intense austerities to Lord Brahma. And, as a result, after several years they were pleased with an advantage of endless life by Lord Brahma. Through their unbelievable power, they grew evil and disturbed the peaceful life on earth and heaven. To save the world, Lord Shiva took the form of Lord Khandoba and Parvati took the form of his wife Champa.
It’s said that the battle was started on the first day of Margashirsh and Mal and Mani fought hard for six days. Finally, on the sixth day, Lord Khandoba killed the demons. Champa, Lord Khandoba's wife had prayed for her husband's victory. And after hearing the demon defeating news, she gave a huge feast of Bharit, a dish made of roasted brinjal and bhakhri (Bajri roti) to villagers. Since then Champa Shashti is celebrated in the memory of this event.
Another popular myth is that Lord Shiva wanted to reside here in the form of Swayambhu Lingam after defeating the demons. Lord Khandoba repented, so he set up a long Agni Kund and walked back and forth on the burning coal barefoot.
Khandoba Temple, Shirdi Timings: 5.30 AM to 10 PM
Khandoba Temple, Shirdi Entry Fees: Nil