Some devotees claim that Pathri is the real birthplace of Sai Baba. (Photo Credit: ANI)
Sai Baba Temple remained open on Sunday despite indefinite bandh in Shirdi over Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s statement where he described Pathri in Parbhani district as his birthplace. The temple attracts lakhs of devotees from all over India every year. A controversy has erupted over the location of the birthplace of the 19th-century saint, even as the chief minister would be holding talks to defuse the row. The bandh has been called as locals and opposition leaders in Shirdi are demanding that Thackeray withdraw his official statement.
Some devotees claim that Pathri is the real birthplace of Sai Baba. But residents of Shirdi claimed that the exact birthplace of the famed saint was not known. Deepak Mugalikar, chief executive officer of the Shree Sai Baba Sansthan Trust at Shirdi, said the temple will remain open despite the bandh call.
Maharashtra: Shirdi Sai Baba temple remains open amid bandh called today in Shirdi town, against CM Uddhav Thackeray's reported comment calling Pathri (in Parbhani) as Sai Baba's birthplace. pic.twitter.com/fNAx3FrPTa— ANI (@ANI) January 19, 2020
Local BJP leaders are supporting the Bandh call given by residents. BJP MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said he supported the call for shut-down. “The chief minister should withdraw his statement that Pathri was Saibaba’s birthplace,” he demanded.
“Pathri only has one of several Sai temples in the country. All Sai devotees are feeling hurt, so this controversy should be ended,” the former state minister said.
Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan had said on Friday that the creation of facilities for devotees at Pathri should not be opposed over the controversy over birthplace.
Earlier, the 11-day holiday rush saw over 8 lakh visitors thronging the Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi, which received Rs 17.42 crore in donations, Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST) said.
Maharashtra: A bandh has been called today in Shirdi town, against CM Uddhav Thackeray's reported comment calling Pathri (in Parbhani) as Sai Baba's birthplace. pic.twitter.com/wxPGlrRJki— ANI (@ANI) January 19, 2020
From December 23 last year to January 2, as many as 8.23 lakh devotees visited the famed temple at Shirdi in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, the trust’s chief executive officer Deepak Mugalikar said.
A total of 1,213.680 gm in gold and 17,223 gm silver were donated to the temple, Mugalikar said, adding that the total donations were valued at Rs 17.42 crore. In the same period last year, the temple had received Rs 14.5 crore in donations, he added.
With PTI Inputs