FAQ: Where to go in Maharashtra: Places of Spirit

Alandi Maharashtra India Fire Mountain Retreat Tours

Dear Fire Mountain Retreat:

I will be in India this June. I will be going to Shirdi, Meherebad, and Pandhapur. Where are you in relation to these places. I have been to Ganeshpuri in the past and received Shaktipat. Thank you, JB.

Dear JB,

Thank you for your inquiry about coming to Fire Mountain Retreat.  We have been to all of these places you have mentioned and might suggest you move around in a circle to visit these places again, adding new places as well. My first question:  Who do you most wish to see?  I assume you are flying into Mumbai.

Going East

If Meher Baba is most important, then going through Pune is a joy. We hired a car from a Meher Baba Lover who took us to Pune and then the next day to Meherabad. In Pune, you can visit the house where he grew up and put your head on the stone that was thrown at his forehead by Upasani Maharaj that was said to have an enlightening effect.  Also, in Pune is the outdoor shrine to the great Sufi saint, Hazrat Babajan, kissed Meher Baba on the forehead and began his spiritual unfoldment.  Then go on to Meherabad and stay at the ashram there which is so wonderful. His Samadhi shrine is so peaceful and inspiring.

From there you can go north to Shirdi. Just outside of Shirdi is a small village, Sakori, where Upasani  Maharaj started a school for girls to study the Vedas, which was unheard of in those days. Upasani was a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba. Being a woman, I love the idea and feeling of Sakori. Shirdi is kind of a small Disney land. But has many holy sites there if you can find someone to tell you what is special. Many people have had profound experiences at the feet of Sai Baba.  Maybe hire a guide or just walk around and feel into it. We have stayed at the Sun and Sands in Shirdi and they have a swimming pool which is so nice in the hot season. A living saint lives nearby in Kopergau and welcomes westerners, Janglidas Maharaj.

Going North

If being at the feet of Bhagwan Nityananda and Swami Munktananda is your heart’s desire, then come first to Ganeshpuri. We can arrange a driver to pick you up at the airport and bring you to Ganeshpuri.  Fire Mountain Retreat is about 10 minute walk  from the Nityananda shrine, and  we do offer a free daily shuttle for our guests. You can read more about our facility at www.firemountainretreat.com . I think you will find it a very comforting way to enter into the Indian culture, a little at a time. There are many ways to take in the shakti here in this profound location, be it from the Nityananda Samadhi shrine directly or his ashram next door,  the Shaligram samdhi shrine also next door to the Nityananda Temple, the BhadraKali shrine in Ganeshpuri. Many devotees spend days wandering from the temple to the ashram and then out to some of the other holy shrines nearby.

Down the road is the Swami Muktananda/Guru Mayi ashram, known as Guru Siddha Peeth and on the weekends, they open up the courtyard for outsiders to come and chant the Guru Gita in Sanskrit at 5:30am. This is a great gift to sit with other  Shaktipat sadhakas in devotion.  Also on Saturday and Sunday, the Muktananda Samadhi shrine is open for an hour long meditation at 10 a.m. and at 3 p.m.  Otherwise, it is inaccessible to outsiders. Next door is a sublime temple to Devi Ma.

Fire Mountain Retreat Center is located in Nimboli where Nityananda established his devotee Rak Hadi Baba at the Anusaya Ashram next to a naturally  occurring Shiva Lingam. This lingam is extremely powerful and can stop one’s mind instantly. What a gift that is. The devotees of Rak Hadi Baba have installed a beautiful and empowered murti of their Baba in its own little temple there. And next door is a small shrine to Durga.  Nimboli also benefits from having three hot water koons.

Nearby Ganeshpuri,  you might remember, is a large shrine to the Goddess Vajreshwari, or also known as Vajra Yogini, or the Thunder Goddess. Inside the shrine is to Vajreshwari, Renuka, MahaKali, MahaLaxmi and Parasharam.  One can also  take a car ride to the original shrine to Vajreshwari and Renuka as well as the original shrine to Parasharam which is more secluded and very sublime.

Nearby to Ganeshpuri, going the opposite direction, is a fabulous ashram to Parasharam. It is built into the foothills and has a windy trail throughout the grounds leading past many yagna pits and small meditation huts. Worth a few hours visit. 

In June, climbing Mount Mandagni would be too hot, but another time one can climb to the top and experience great freedom and expanse. Also, there is a cave on top that many sadhakas have used over the years.

 Going South

 Pandapur is in the south of Maharashtra with several very profound shrines to visit. We took a sleeper train to Solapur and then hired a taxi to the various shrines from there. May I suggest that if you go that far south, you MUST go to Akkalkot to visit the samadhi shrine of Swami Samarthe. He was a very renown saint who was akin to Sai Baba of Shirdi and Nityananda . He doesn't have the crowds that Shirdi and Pandapur have, but if you are looking for a blessing of Light and Bliss, please do consider this. Nearby is the Gangapur shrine to Dattatreya as Swami Sarashima . Historically he is thought to be the first Dattatreya, with Swami Samarthe and Bhagwan Nityananda downline. Gangapur is an amazing place. There is a tree where many sadhus and sadhakas practice their various sadhanas under a tent, each occupying their own little table and chair, very devotional vibe.  Akkalkot Swami Samarthe had three gurus follow him in his lineage. One of them is Shree Gajanan Maharaj of Shivpuri, which is just outside of Akkalkot.  He too continues to bless those who come to Shivpuri. They have a small ayurvedic clinic there where my husband and I visited two years ago for a 16 day Kaya Kalpa treatment: Outstanding!. And then nearby is the Tuljapur shrine to the Divine Mother.  the first time we visited this area, we did it in four days. When we went for the ayurvedic treatment, we stayed three weeks.

So dear Joan, I suppose this is more than you wanted. But you can see that I am very enthusiastic about these beautiful shrines to the saints. And yes it does rub off!

 Please feel free to contact us with more questions. We will be happy to share our knowledge and experience with you.  By the way, if you are on Facebook, you can see our pages: Fire Mountain Retreat and our seva work Shree Nityananda Education Trust  (or our website --www.shreenityanandaeducationtrust.org)