What every pilgrim to Shirgaon fervently longs for is to rest their forehead at Baba’s sacred feet. The Baba’s benign, larger than life-size figure, carved by Shri Ramprasad Bharadwaj out of marble bought from Makrana, exudes grace and benevolence. The Baba sits relaxed in his customary cross-legged posture, imposing yet elegant, his eyes sparkling - a source of hope and succour for millions of his worshippers.

At the Samadhi, devotees offer obeisance and seek forgiveness for any wrongdoings. For them, the idol does not merely represent God: it is God. And the opportunity to prostrate before it and make religious offerings may define for many the fulfillment of a lifetime’s ambition. The inner sanctum is polished up with gold and the raised platform on which Sai Baba’s idol rests is made of pure silver.

The quietness and solitude prevailing inside the main temple complex is enlivening. Despite the throng of devotees lining up in serpentine queues, one finds oneself enveloped in an ineffable inner peace. Perhaps it is this self-awakening that spurs ‘bhaktas’ of Shri Sai Baba to return to Shirgaon - again and again!