My favourite Tea Shop / Canteen in Shirdi (Maharashtra)

I reached Shirdi from Mumbai by bus at 2:30 pm and by 2:40 pm I was in the hotel.

After freshening up, I decided to skip afternoon meal and had a walk around Shirdi.

Not far from the hotel, I saw Yewale Amruttulya –  Pune famous tea brand, since 1983.

Yewale Amruttulya, Shirdi, Maharashtra

* Yewale – The surname, Amruttulya – Amrut (nectar), tulya (comparable).

The spacious shop is near to Shree Chavadi.

Yewale Amruttulya is a known brand in Mumbai. Opposite Bombay Dyeing at Worli, I have visited this shop many times and had cup of tea with friends. I was aware about the quality of tea – which is excellent and price – per cup Rs. 10 only.

Immediately, I decided to have a cup of tea.

The taste of the tea was as similar as I had in Worli. No change i.e., excellent. They maintain similar quality at all branches/franchise.

The only difference – at Worli before lockdown, they serve tea via their own cup having Yewale Amruttulya printed but here in Shirdi due to pandemic (COVID-19) they are serving tea via plastic cups.

What I like the most about Yewale Amruttulya: The quality/taste/color of the tea and the cleanliness/hygiene in-around the shop. One can also watch the tea preparation as it is viewable for customers.

I had two cups of tea.

* येवले  चहा एकदा पिऊन तर  पहा… (taste the tea once)

So true. I was तृप्त.

Motto (displayed): In the next ten years, to start & run successfully 2500 branches across India & around the world.

Best Wishes ! You will.

Next day, walking around Saibaba temple-area, I saw Tea Canteen by Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi.

Tea Canteen - Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi, Maharashtra

And the cost:

Tea – Rs. 2 only, Coffee – Rs. 3 only and Milk – Rs. 3 only. Subsidized rates. Good for needy and even for us sometimes.

I requested for coffee but was not available thus, I requested for a cup of tea.

The tea taste was different from Yewale Amruttulya but having it own value i.e., quality & taste.

During four days stay, numerous times I had tea at Yewale Amruttulya (specilly early morning hours) and at Tea Canteen during evening hours.

Yewale Amruttulya opens at 5:30 am till 11 pm and Tea Canteen – 24 hours open.

I am a tea lover (without sugar) though I am not diabetic. At home I prepare tea myself thus, when I am on tour I wish to taste the best tea in town/city no matter it is with sugar. Every town/city always have a famous tea point.

I suggest: if you – The devotees visiting Shirdi, visit the shop as well as canteen.

Please note: Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi also run Prasadalaya – 1 km from temple. There they provide Prasad for FREE and at Subsidized rate. I visited thrice and had delicious Prasad. The journey continues..

* Marathi to English translation by – Rahul Patil – a dear friend from Pune, Maharashtra.

Mumbai to Shirdi by BharatBenz Bus (A/C 26 Seater – 2+1)

Online Darshan Pass/Booking was completed for Shri SaiBaba temple, Shirdi and also for Shri Shaneshwar Devasthan Shanishingnapur.

Now the question:

How to reach Shirdi from Mumbai? Travel Options?

I thought of booking night train from Mumbai to Sainagar, Shirdi via www.irctc.co.in but the message displayed after login and search was: In the wake of COVID 19 and as a measure of abundant caution, booking has been suspended on this route for all trains until further advice.

Next option?

Mumbai to Shirdi via Bus

www.redbus.in (India’s largest online bus ticketing platform) one of the best option to book bus ticket.

I searched Mumbai to Shirdi and the results displayed MSRTC buses, Neeta tours and travels BharatBenz bus (A/C Seater – 2+2), Dolphin travel house bus (A/C Sleeper – 2+2) and many more having ticket prices somewhere between INR 300 – INR 1010 depending upon Seater, Sleeper, Safety, Amenities, Boarding and Dropping Points, Reviews etc.

Departure timings starting from 5:30 in the morning till 11 in the night.

I thought of booking morning MSRTC SHIVSHAHI bus because boarding point was near to home and I also wanted to experience travel via Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation bus.

Done.

Received E-Reservation Ticket via Email from redbus.

Total Chargeable Amount including GST – Rs. 565 only.

Approx. Boarding Point – Andheri Char Bungalow (Time : 06:15 Hrs.) and Dropping Point – Shirdi at 13:30

Total journey hours: 07h 15m.

There was also a MSRTC SHIVSHAHI bus taking much lesser time – 5h 10m – boarding point Mumbai Central for INR 355/.

But I was happy because the booked MSRTC SHIVSHAHI bus boarding point was near to house and I was about to experience travel via Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation bus.

Then a question arise:

Boarding Point mentioned is – Andheri Char Bungalow – where exactly in Char Bungalow?

I dialed Toll Free Helpline number for clarity but was disappointed because the person present at helpline number was not aware of exact boarding point in Char Bungalow, Andheri West.

Now what next?

I tried few more contacts mentioned at MSRTC website. I was told – Boarding Point is near Char Bungalow Post Office.

As per knowledge (if I am correct), there is no post office in Char Bungalow, Andheri (West).

What to do?

I cancelled the ticket with disappointment. I was not happy. The joy to travel via Government bus – failed.

I received an Email from redbus mentioning refund of Rs. 416.50 (will be credited in account in 5-7 bank working days).

Next, the only available – Neeta Tours And Travels (Bharat Benz Bus A/C Seater – 2+2).

Booked ticket for Rs. 550.

I received eTicket via Email from redbus mentioning tour details as follows:

Boarding Point: Andheri (E) Neeta Travels, *Western Tower Building, Next To Bisleri Compound.

*not too far from home

Departure Time: 7:00 am, Dropping Point: Neeta Annex Hotel, Shirdi at 02:45 pm.

Total journey hours: 07h 45m.

NOTE : This operator accepts mTicket, you need not carry a print out. Insure your travel (Loss of baggage Upto Rs. 3,000 insurance cover & Personal accident Rs. 6,00,000 insurance cover) by adding Rs 15 per passenger – Powered by ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

Done. Received Email / SMS from redbus and Email from ICICI Lombard.

Finally, on journey date at 6:45 am I was present at next to Bisleri Compound, Western Express Highway, Andheri – East, Mumbai.

At 7:05 am bus arrived.

Neeta Tours And Travels (Bharat Benz Bus AC Seater - 2+2) - Mumbai to Shirdi (Maharashtra)

Bus conductor verified name from his list. Hand Sanitisers was sprinkled at both hands at the entrance of bus door.

I enter the bus and amazed because it was 26 Seater – 2+1 BharatBenz Bus.

I had a window seat (I selected online) not too far from the door. After 5 minutes bus started on its journey to Shirdi.

Seat/bus was comfortable & clean, air-conditioned – working though mobile charger point was not near the seat. It was near the driver. There was no entertainment for long journey such as melodious music. Little boring – I have to say.

Anyway, at 8:00 am we reached Mulund.

9:20 am the bus stopped at Hotel Paramount (Pure Jain food) at Shahpur. The halt was for 20 minutes. I had tea for Rs. 25/. The best was the clean toilet of Hotel Paramount – a rarity.

10:50 am we reached Igatpuri. Before Igatpuri the drive was too picturesque as we pass through Kasara Ghat. I enjoyed it thoroughly specially because I was having window seat.

11:45 am at Mumbai Naka, Nashik.

Note: The shorter route from Mumbai to Shirdi is via GHOTI (after Igatpuri). There is a MSRTC bus from Parel that reaches Shirdi via Ghoti. But how much time it takes – no idea.

1:05 pm the bus again had a halt for 20 minutes at Hotel Sai Virbhadra at Pangri village (approx. 40 km before Shirdi). I visited bathroom which was very clean.

I had Kesar-Pista and Chocolate ice-cream – both for Rs. 20 each. It was delicious and the price was also cheap though the company – cups n cones was never heard. In-short, unknown brands can be excellent too.

Anyway, bus re-started the journey and at 2:30 pm (15 minutes before time) reached Shirdi (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra).

In-totality: The journey from Mumbai to Shirdi by BharatBenz Bus (A/C Seater – 2+1) was good if not, excellent (no music). The two stoppages at nice & clean hotels – appreciated. Road condition specially at Kasara Ghat – fantastic. The journey continues..

Advance Online Darshan Booking/Pass for Shri Shanaishwar Devasthan Shanishingnapur, Maharashtra

After registering at Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust Sansthan’s official website for Darshan pass, now the time was to register at Shani Shingnapur official website (available in English, Marathi, Hindi) for Online Darshan Pass.

Thank God, after months of State lockdown and places of worship – closed due to COVID-19, finally, opened.

After 10 plus years, I planned to re-visit Shri Shaneshwar Devasthan Shanishingnapur (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra).

There are two options available in the website – 1. Online Donation and 2. Online Darshan Pass.

for Online Darshan Pass one has to fill Registration Form with details such as Date of Visit (only 9 days booking is available currently), Time Slot (24 hours open), Total Members (maximum 10), Full Name, Email Id, Contact No., State and City.

Once you are done with Book Darshan, you will receive an email.

There are certain Terms & Conditions mentioned as follows:

  1. Mask and Social Distancing are compulsory all the time.
  2. Visitors are required to maintain physical distancing – 6 feet distance at all times.
  3. Touching of Statues / Idols is not allowed.
  4. Person above 65 years of age, pregnant woman and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay home.

All done?

Take the printout of your booking voucher.

That’s it.

Update

My Appointment was on 09-01-2021 / 12:00 PM – 01:00 PM. I reached Shanishingnapur exactly on time with the printout of booking voucher.

I purchased pooja items from the shop outside the temple-area. The shop-keeper enhanced knowledge about the pooja items – *Horse-Shoe of Iron (घोड़े की नाल), Panchdhatu Janam Kundli, Navgrah Yantra, Nazar Gudiya, Siddh Shani Yantra, Black Cloth, आक का पत्ता, Coconut (नारियल ), Incense Sticks (अगरबत्ती), Mustard Oil, Black ‘urud’ and Muri as prasad.

The cost of all above said items – Rs. 250 (excluding Mustard Oil). I paid Rs. 200. It is up to you how much you can bargain. *If you check online the price of ‘Black Horse Shoe/Kale Ghode ki naal’ is approx. 200 rupees.

Here, I will suggest: buy Mustard oil from the temple-area as it is cheaper than shops. – Rs. 40 only (if I remember correctly).

Note: Coconut (नारियल ) and Musturd Oil one has to submit/pour at a place/container before reaching idol of God Shani.

The queue wasn’t long though it was Saturday – said to be the best day to worship Lord Shani. Within 30 minutes, I had blessings of Lord Shani.

After darshan, I purchased Nariyal Barfi as prasad from the temple-area counter.

Hope you too will visit soon in this New Year (specially after 2020) for the blessings of Lord Shani. The journey continues..

Pick a Date/Time for Free Darshan at Sai Temple, Shirdi via Official Website/Mobile App

After months of State lockdown and places of worship – closed gates due to COVID-19, finally, opened.

After 10 plus years, I planned to re-visit Sai temple (resumed from November 16, 2020), Shirdi, Maharashtra.

Knowledge was enhanced by official website of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi – due to covid-19 pandemic restrictions, requested to book Arti / Darshan pass in advance through Sansthan’s official website or via Shri Saibaba Sansthan, Shirdi App available on Google Play or App Store before arriving to avoid inconvenience.

I immediately opened website and was ready to proceed.

Via website one can avail Darshan, Aarti, Donation, Accommodation, Pooja and Publication services.

One has / have to register (in English) and fill details such as Add Photo (max. 1 MB), Full Name, Mobile number, Address, Photo ID details, Username and Password.

Once you SIGN UP, a One Time Password (OTP) you will receive on your mobile for verification and an email in order to complete the account activation.

Next, you have to pick a date, time slot and number of persons (max. 4 persons allowed) for the FREE darshan.

Note: only 7 days booking date is available currently and time slot available from 7:00 am – 9:00 pm.

All done?

Take a print-out to be shown along with government recognized photo id at Sai temple, Shirdi to enter the temple-area.

Note: Children below 10 years, Elders above 65 years, Pregnant Ladies are not allowed in the booking. Flowers, Sweets, Mobile, Laptop, Camera, Electronic items are not permitted inside the temple-area. Wearing face mask is mandatory. One has to follow social-distancing rules – 6 feet distance.

Update

My Appointment was on 07.01.2021 / 7:00 am. I reached exactly at appointment time at Gate No. 2. The queue wasn’t long though it was Thursday – said to be the best day to worship Sai Baba.

Knowledge was further enhanced in the queue. There were three more options for Darshan.

  1. Free pass available near the temple-area. One has / have to show government recognized photo id to have free pass.
  2. Rs. 200 pass/per person is also available by showing government recognized photo id. The queue to enter temple is separate.
  3. There is also a separate pass counter for local villagers.

Within half an hour I had blessings of Shri Saibaba.

Very nice disciplined arrangement by the temple authorities and the police. Appreciated.

Social distancing was maintained. Sanitiser was present. Face-mask was checked.

Temple opens at 7 am and close at 9 pm. All days open.

After Darshan each devotee was given Udi (sacred Ash for FREE in a pouch) as a blessings of Shri Saibaba.

Hope you too will visit soon in this New Year (specially after 2020) for the blessings of Shri Saibaba. The journey continues..

Mobile Phone Holder for my RE Thunderbird Twinspark 350

51,000 km journey via Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark 350 without taking Google Maps support but recent time, I was having difficulty in reaching a particular destination. Every time at cross-roads, I have to stop motorbike and take-out mobile from the pocket to have a look at the correct directions by Google Maps.

What to do? How to solve correct directions issue without any fuss?

I decided to buy – Motorbike Mobile Phone Holder.

I had talks with a friend (who is using it, purchased for Rs. 800 – waterproof without USB Charger) about the same and he suggested – a branded Motorbike Mobile Phone Holder will cost somewhere between 700 – 1,000 rupees.

I search google – Mobile Phone Holder Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350

And the results were amazing by amazon.in

Glito Bike Mobile Phone Holder – Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 only for Rs. 289 (M.R.P. – Rs. 699 / Save – Rs. 410).

I also search – mobile phone holder for motorcycle

The results show various types of mobile holder (with/out USB Charger) for motorbikes such as claw-grip, 360 rotation, waterproof. And the price between Rs. 300 – 1500.

A thought: waterproof & with USB Charger is interesting but I will go with Glito Bike Mobile Phone Holder – Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350.

I order on 28 December, 2020. It was delivered just few days back with having option of – 10 Days Returnable.

Today, I opened it and it is written: Guarantee, smartphone will not fall off from holder – Shipped by Kunj Car Accessories, Delhi. Mobile Holder length – 185mm (maximum) and width – 95mm (maximum).

A thought about guarantee (Made in China): only time knows the answer though it seems to be durable. Hope I have fixed it correctly.

Correct, if I am incorrect. Check/Look at the below photograph.

Glito Bike Mobile Phone Holder - RE Thunderbird Twinspark 350

Instruction - Glito Bike Mobile Phone Holder - RE Thunderbird Twinspark 350

Hope, Mobile Phone Holder for my RE Thunderbird Twinspark 350 will last for at least one year. Lets see. Will update. The journey continues..