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Navratri, The Celebration Of Shakti

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The ganesh festival is just over and we all were waiting for navratri since then which is one of the important festival in India. It is one of the biggest festival celebrated in India. Navratri, the literal meaning is nine nights. Its a word derived from Sanskrit. These nine days and nights are celebrated by worshipping the manifestations of Goddess Durga. She is the divine power symbolizing the shakti. 

The navratri is celebrated in October but the exact dates are confirmed every year by lunar calender. Navratri has various stories behind its celebration. Once upon a time Asuras, the demos rose above the Suras, gods. They achieved more powers than gods and defeated them under the leadership of Devil Mashishasur who was a powerful Asur and created a chaos in the world. All gods were scared for the welfare of the world hence the ultimate powerful goddess, Maa Durga was born to defeat him. Their battle went on for the nine days and on the last day, 10th day Mahishasur was defeated and killed by her so the name is navaratri because battle went on for nine days. This is also called as a "Durgotsav". 

Navratri has bigger celebration in Maharashtra, Gujrat and Karnatka. Garba of Gujrat, Durga puja in West bengal, 'Ravan-dahan' in Karnatka, Ramlila in Notth India are the best picks of Navratri. 

It is believed that Maa Durga stays with us in these nine days blessing us happiness and prosperity. The forms of Durga are Shailiputri, Bramhacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidatri. These forms are also known as Navadurga.

According to different regions these nine forms are known as with different names. The various incarnations of Maa durga celebrated in this nine days are Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapurna devi, Bhairavi, Chandika/Chandi, Lalita, Bhavani, Mookambika. Every day has its own celebration in Navratri. In first three days, Maa kaali which is also known as Kaali destroy the evil in our homes and souls. In second three days goddess Laxmi gives us the spiritual health. Laxmii is the goddess of Wealth. In last three days the goddess Sarswati who is the goddess of wisdom is worshipped. We all seek for these three aspects.

Ghatasthapna is done on the very first day. A pot is installed in home and grains are sowed. A diya is lit throughout the nine days undisturbed. The pot is a symbol of universe and diya represents the shakti, the pure and divine power.
The last day, 10th day is known as Dusshera or Vijayadashmi which has its own mythological importance and beliefs. More about it in our next post. 
These nine days the atmosphere in home is very zealous. Garba dance is performed which has turned into big time events these days. Specially girls start preparing for their costumes weeks before navratri. 

Navratri is the festival of Goddess Durga, we worship the divine power personified by feminine form. It gives us the message that the true, unimaginable and abundant form of shakti lies in the feminine form of god. If she can love and care for you unconditionally, work for you all the time and seem mild then she also has the tremendous spellbinding shakti to destroy you. If she can rise and create you she also has the supreme power to finish you fiercely. And while I am writing this I remember a role of mother in our lives. We worship the goddess these nine days wholeheartedly but we actually have been living with this one form of goddess since the day we are born. She brings us to the world, protects from all the possible evil things and loves us no matter what, she is our Mother, our goddess. 

Every home has a living goddess in it working for them, loving them, nurturing them silently without expecting. Do we worship them? Do we recognize their sacrifice? Do we say thank you? Do we say "we can live and win" because of you? 

Lets make a difference this year, lets remember the first living goddess we come across in our life, lets be thankful for them and worship them by giving respect they deserve and love that they dont even demand for. "Shatakoti Pranam" to these goddesses in our homes, thank you for being our Shakti.

Happy Navratri to all! 

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Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima

   'Guru Purnima' is a festival celebrated to pay respect to spiritual leader called as Guru. The festival is mainly celebrated by the Hindus and Buddhists in India. The word 'Purnima' means the full moon day and Guru Purnima also falls on the fool moon day in Ashadh (June-July) month of Hindu calendar. Hindus celebrates the Guru Purnima in honor of a great sage Vyasa who is regarded as one of the greatest religious leader (guru) by Hindu. Guru Purnima not only marks the birth day of the sage but this is the same day when he began writing the Brahma Sutra (a religious script).   It is also the day when Lord Buddha made his first sermon at Sarnath in UP and hence in Buddhism the day is observed in honor of Lord Buddha who is regarded the Guide and religious leader of the people.

The Significance of Guru Purnima

     Origin of Guru Purnima festival dates back to Indian ancient Guru-Shishya (disciple) tradition which symbolizes the holy relation of Guru-Shishya. It is an auspicious day when people are seen expressing their gratitude towards the person they regard as Guru. The celebration is throughout the country and Hindu monks called as Sanyasi celebrated the day by offering prayer to the Guru. Programs of reciting Hindu scripture, especially Guru Gita written by Vyasa himself, are held in all parts of the country. Bhajan and Kirtan are also organized on the day to mark the Guru Purnima. The festival also includes the ritual of Padapuja, worshipping Guru's feet. Many devotees are seen worshipping the sandals which are regarded as the symbolic feet of the Guru. They are also seen taking pledge to follow in their life the teaching and guidance of their gurus.

On this auspicious occasion we team Clear Car Rental wish every Guru a very Happy Guru Purnima.

Hanuman Jayanti

  Hanuman Jayanti is one of the Indian festivals celebrating the birth of Hanuman deity. It falls on the 15th day of the Chaitra month (in the month of April) according to the Hindu lunar calendar. The day would be usually a full moon day. But, in some parts of India (Tamil Nadu) the birth of Hanuman (Aanjaneya) would be celebrated on an Amvasya day (no moon day) of the Margashirsh month (falls between December and January).  It is also celebrated during the month of Vaishakh (end of April and the beginning of May) in some other parts. The variation depends upon which calendar one would be referring to.
  Hanuman (also known as Aanjaneya) was a staunch devotee of Lord Rama as the legends state. He was the son of Vayu (air deity) and helped Rama to rescue Seetha from Ravana’s clutches. Hanuman is revered for various reasons. For some he is the symbol of strength. For some he is the protector from evil spirits. Especially people who are affected by Shani (deity of mal-effects) would go to Hanuman temples on Saturdays to get rid of their problem. According to legends Hanuman is the only deity whom Shani would not dare to affect. So, Hanuman is revered for protection over distressing negative energies.
  On the day of his birth the devotees would visit Hanuman temples, would hold spiritual discourses and would do puja at home by chanting mantras. Hanuman Chalesa is the special mantra that would be recited to appease Aanjaneya. Devotees would apply ‘sindhoor’ (vermillion) on their foreheads and the rituals would be done at dawn since Hanuman was born at dawn.

Shri Ram Navami

  Ram Navami is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of lord Sri Rama –the ideal King of Ayodhya. The festival commences on the ninth day of the Chaitra Navaratri (Vasant Navratri) and it is celebrated with great fervor all across India. Lord Rama is the celebrated hero of the epic Ramayana. Rama is said to be an ideal king/son/husband. Thus, a celebration of his birth day has been a part of Indian festivities. He was born on the ninth day of the Chaitra month (according to the lunar calendar) to Dasharatha and Kausalya.
  Many people take up fast from the first day of the Vasant Navratri (Gudi Padwa) in the name of Lord Rama and end their fast on the ninth day, the day when Rama was born. On that day processions of Ram idol along with Sita Mata and Lakshman take place and people distribute a type of drink called ‘Paanaka’ (Sharbat made out of jiggery and lemon juice mixed with pepper powder). In some parts of India on this day some people will hold the ‘kalyanotsava’ (marriage of Lord Rama and Sita).  At noon, a coconut draped in cloth would be placed on a cradle to rock; this ritual is done to mark the birth Lord Rama. Rama Navami will be celebrated by holding spiritual discourses and processions.  Usually it falls in March and April.

Konkan Fruit Festival

  As the name suggests the Konkan fruit festival is all about the fruits of Konkan region of India.  The festival is organized every year in Panjim, Goa. The festival is exhibition -cum sale of the fruits of Konkan region. This three day summer festival is organized by Botanical society of Goa in association with City Corporation of Panjim. Fruit eating and fruit carving contest and other completions of homemade fruit items like jams, wines, squashes etc are fun activities of the festival.
  Konkan fruit festival witnesses the wide response from thousands people who are seen visiting the festival and enjoying the event. You can also see at the festival wide variety plants and seedling and edible items made of fruits being sold on large scale. Many stalls set up for the occasion are seen displaying wide variety different fruits of Konkan region. You can have the choice of buying these delicious fruits as they are also available for sell. Though the festival is all about Konkan fruits, it also offers the visitors other entertaining activities like music and dance programs and fancy dress competition thus attracting more and more tourists  to witness the amazing event

Holi - Festival Of Colors

Significance of Holi festival

   Festival of color, Holi is a spring festival celebrated by the Hindus in all over the world. It is the most charming festival of India celebrated in each part of the country.  There are many stories associated with the origin of Holi festival. It is mainly believed to be related with lord Krishna. It is said that lord Krishna often complained of his dark skin to his mother comparing his skin color to the Radha's fair color. His mother decided to apply the color to Radha. Later on Krishna played such pranks on Radha and other Gopikas. Thus the festival is celebrated to commemorate Radha’s celestial love for Krishna.
  The festival of Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter. The festival usually falls on the last full moon of day of Phalguna (Feb- March) month. On the eve of the Holi festival particular bonfire is set on fire thus marking the mythological incidence of Holika Dahan in which Holika (a demoness with a boon that she could not be burnt) dies of burning when she sits on pyre with Prhalad (an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu) who escapes the fire unhurt due to supernatural power of the god lord Vishnu.
  Celebration of Holi contains the activities of people throwing colors mixed with water and applying colors to each other. The festival of Holi gets different flavor in different parts of the country. There are many form of the festival of Holi celebrated in different ways. Lath Mar Holi in Barsna is very striking. Thousands of people gather at the compound of Radha Rani temple to witness the women striking hard with sticks to men who are seen protecting themselves with some kind of shields. Mathura, Vrindavan, Braj, Agra are some of the places related with lord Krishna and hence celebration of Holi there is very religious and divine.

Holi in different states of India

  Holi is also known by different names in different parts of the state. In West Bengal and Orissa it is known as Dolyatra of Basant Panchami while it has other name of Phagawa in Bihar. In Maharashtra and Goa Holi is known as Dhulivandan. Baithki Holi and Khari Holi are some forms of main festival of Holi. Holi festival abolishes the gap between rich and poor, men and women, young and old, rich and poor who all comes together to celebrate colorful Holi.

Maha Shivaratri festival

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated to remember lord Shiva and take his blessings for personal well being in this life and after. The shivratri is observed a day before the amavasya in the phalgun month according to Hindu calendar. The devotees of Shiva stay awake on 13Th night, generally walking / travelling to some Shiva temple, singing/chanting panchakshari mantra and praising the lord Shiva. They fast on 14Th day as a penance and offering to lord Shiva, people generally restrain themselves from eating grains on this day, only some fruits, milk and milk products and some items like sabudana (sago), nuts and dry fruits can be savored while fasting. Some people take a complete fasting and restrain themselves from eating anything and some even fast without water known as nirjala fast. Bael leaves, flowers, ghee lamp, incense sticks and bhoga are offered at the temples. This is the biggest devotional event among the Hindus and devotees all around the country(India) observe this day with great religious obligations.     

Vasant Panchami - a festival devoted to Goddess Saraswati

Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami is a festival celebrated by the Hindus all over the world. The festival celebrates the goddess of Saraswati which is known to be the goddess of Knowledge. Goddess Saraswati is a consort of the lord Brahma who is according to Hindu mythology, considered to be the creator of the whole universe. Devi Saraswati is known to be goddess of learning and wisdom. The Goddess Saraswati symbolizes the Knowledge.
  The word Panchami literally means five and the festival falls on the fifth day of Mag (Jan- Feb) month of the Indian Calendar. The day is supposed to be auspicious to teach the children to write their first word in their life. On the occasion of Vasant Panchami Brahmins are invited to home and fed. Yellow color gets importance on this day. People usually try to wear yellow dress on this festival. India’s crop fields are filled with the color yellow, as the yellow mustard flowers bloom at this time of the year.The goddess Saraswati is also adorned with yellow cloths and worshiped.
Pitri Tarpan is done on the occasion of Vasant Panchami. Pitri Tarpan means worshiping ancestors. Kamdev (the god of love) is also worshipped on this holy event. Sweets are exchanged with relatives and friends. Children like to fly kites on this day. Vasant Panchami has a great religious and social importance in Indian society and hence the festival is celebrated with great fervor.
Vasant Panchami is celebrated in Punjab with more fascinating way. First of all the festival is known as Basant Panchami here. On the occasion children and many young boys and girls fly the colorful kites.  Thousands of colorful kites presents amazing look in the sky. This is largely seen in Ferozepur (Punjab) where the festival is also known as Kite Festival.

Lohri - Festival in India

Lohri festival popularly celebrated in North India especially in states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and the nearby areas.
 Lohri is celebrated on the 13th of January marking the end of the winter season. The next day is the first day of their month. The festival coincides with the Hindu festival Makara Sankranti (celebrated on the 14th of January). Many people believe the festival began as a celebration of the eve of the winter solstice. The day begins with children collecting money from houses in the neighborhood. Children go from door to door singing songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti, a famous legendary Rajpoot hero of the Punjab who robbed the rich and helped the poor. On the eve of Lohri people create huge bonfires in the harvested fields and in front of homes after that they gather around bonfires and pray for good year. Popular songs, peanuts and corn puffs are enjoyed near the flames. Sarson da saag and makki di roti is usually served as the main course at a Lohri dinner. Farmers pray to God for good harvest seasons and good financial year on the eve of Lohri.

Konark Dance Festival, Orissa

   Tourists visiting Konark in the month of December has a great chance of enjoying much more than mere sightseeing and beautiful beaches as  the town of Konark in the state of Orissa (India)hosts its the charming Dance festival every year in the month of December.  The dance festival offers an occasion for the tourists to witness the many renowned classical dancers performing their arts at the backdrop of Sun Temple, a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO.
    Konark dance festival is an occasion where many eminent dancers from all over the country are seen performing in open theatre. The festival is celebration of classical dance forms like Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak etc. Konark Dance Festival is a joint of initiative of Odissi Research Center and Orissa Tourism. The festival has been successfully organized for the last 19 years. It is an event to honor the classical dance forms and celebrated classical dancers. Konark dance festival also provides a platform to both acclaimed and budding talents who are seen enthralling the visitors by their outstanding performance. The event of festival is witnessed by thousands of tourist from across the country. Craft Mela is another added feature of the festival where many beautiful handicrafts are seen being purchased by many tourists.

Sonepur Cattle Fair, Bihar

Sonepur, a small town of Bihar, is famous for its fair popularly called Sonepur Mela. Sonepur Mela is known for its cattle fair (especially elephant) and sometimes it is also called as Sonepur cattle fair.  Sonepur cattle fair is Asia’s one of the biggest cattle fairs. The town of Sonepur, situated at just 22 km of Patna -capital city of Bihar, hosts this fair every year in the month of November.
Sonepur fair has historical importance as it was visited by royal Rajas and Nawabs in the past. They used to camp there during the fair. Sonepur fair holds religious significance as it was held on the full moon day of Kartik month (November) which is considered to be the most sacred month of Hindu calendar. Sonepur is located at the meeting point of two holy rivers namely Ganga and Gandak. People visiting Sonepur fair are seen taking bath in this holy confluence point of two rivers and seeking bless in Hariharnath Mandir located there.
A Sonepur fair is an event and a place where thousands of cattle are sold and bought. The cattle particularly include elephant, horse, camel etc. the fair is held on large ground and is visited by lakhs of people throughout the country and from abroad as well. The fair is not just confined to cattle fair, it is also an event when numerous cultural and entertaining programs like dance, music, folk arts etc are performed.

Navratri Festival

Navratri, the festival of nine nights, is celebrated in all parts of India every year. The festival comes in Ashvin (Sept-Oct) month of Hindu calendar.  The festival sees the worshipping the goddess Durga and her nine Shakti forms during the nine day of the festival. Navratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit. The festival is celebrated to mark the mythological incidence in which the goddess Durga kills the demon Mhaisasura.
Festival of Navratri reminds you of Gujarat which gives the festival a charming look. The festival also brings before you the views of people in Garba playing Dandiyas and dancing to the tunes of Navratri songs. This charming celebration of the festival in Gujarat has also lured people of Maharashtra, Goa and other states to begin to celebrate the Navratri festival that way.
Navratri is celebrated with utmost devotion to the goddess Durga. During the nine days, especially  between evening and pre mid night time, people are seen worshipping the goddess. Idols of goddess Durga are installed in pandals where people gather in the evening, performs the puja (worship) of the goddess. And as soon as the puja is done young boys and girls are seen playing Dandiyas to the tune of special Navratri songs. Bollywood songs are also played for Dandiys in some Pandals.
The festival also marks end of spring and beginning of autumn in India. After the nine days celebration of Navratri, Dussera, which is itself a major festival, is celebrated throughout the country.

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival - Indian Festival

Ganesh Chaturthi is the festival celebrating the birth of elephant headed deity, Ganehsa. Ganesha (also known as Ganapati, Lambodara) is a deity governing the obstacles and wisdom. The deity has a very significant place in any rituals that are done in India. Before starting any new venture, it has been the tradition to do puja of Ganehsa. Ganesha would save from obstacles.
           The festival of Ganesha falls in the month of September usually, in the month of Bhadrapad according to Hindu calendar.  It is celebrated on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the waxing moon period. The celebration lasts for ten days maximum culminating on the eleventh day as Ananth Chaturdashi. Idol of Ganesha would be installed on the first day followed by puja. Earlier people used to install clay idols. Now, plaster of Paris idols are available. People buy the idols from the local artisans. Every day puja would be done to Ganesha as long as he stays. Some keep him for two, some other for four days. On the decided day the idol would be immersed in water.  Ganesha idols would be installed privately at homes, or, by forming into groups one may install Ganesha in public. The freedom fighter ‘Balagangadhar Tilak’ started community processions during Ganesha festival to spread the sense of unity among Indians. People would form into different groups and install their community Ganesha. They would arrange entertainment program on each day. The Ganesha idol would be immersed by taking a procession.
   Ganesha is known as Goddess Parvati’s creation. Stories tell that he is fond of sweets, especially dumplings (‘Modak). So, Modaks would be prepared at homes to appease the deity. Ganesha would be installed in a ‘Mantap’ (on a small stage). The mantaps would be decorated with flowers and lighting. Ganesha idols in various sizes would be installed. On the day of installation (on Chaturthi), it is said that one should not look at moon. Even outside the country this festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm. There is a need to create awareness among the devotees about the eco friendly idols of Ganesha since the plaster of Paris idols are not environment friendly and the idols should not be immersed in public wells that are used for drinking purpose.

Raksha Bandhan - Festival In India

Raksha Bandhan is a unique festival of India celebrating a special bond between brothers and sisters. On this occasion a special thread would be tied on to brother’s wrist by the sister. People of India celebrate this festival on the full moon day in the month of Shravana (according to Hindu lunar calendar). The date usually falls in the month of August.  This festival is very popular in the northern part of India. In the southern part people celebrate the full moon day of Shravan by wearing a new ‘sacred thread’ and it is called ‘yajur-upakarma’.
It is difficult to trace the origin of this festival. Hindu scriptures do not have any specific instructions as such to do such a ritual on this day. However there are instances in Puranas and epics when a sister ties something similar to ‘Rakhi’ and the brother promises to protect her. One such instance is the episode of Krishna and Draupadi. Draupadi seemed to have tied a piece of her saree when Krishna got wounded in some occasion and Krishna seemed to have promised her to help her in danger. So, it is said that there was a sort of brother-sister relationship between the both. Many stories like the one mentioned are quoted while tracing the origin of this festival. However Rani Karnavati’s instance has gained (of Chittur) much popularity. The Mughal ruler Humayun seemed to have evacuated Bahadur Shah’s army from Chittur as a token of acknowledgement to the gesture shown by the queen. The queen (Rani Karnavati) seemed to have sent a Rakhi to Humayun. The tradition of tying Rakhi has been an important part of Indian festivities strengthening the bond of harmony among its people.
Rakhi could be tied to any individual other than our own siblings. On that day sister ties Rakhi (Rakhi is a special thread prepared for this occasion. We can choose to decorate the thread) to her brother and the brother in return presents her something as a token of acknowledgement. That is just a token. The real intention is to strengthen the bond of love and harmony.

Fair and festival in Belgaum

Belgaum culture is largely influenced by the Marathi and Kannada people as it is inhabited by both of these communities. Festival forms an integral part of the culture and hence the influence of multi-cultures can vividly be seen on the celebrations of festivals in Belgaum. Belgaum celebrates with full zest all major national festivals like Diwali, Dussera, holi, Id-ul-fitr, Christmas, etc. Apart from these festivals Belgaum hosts many other festivals and fairs with much pomp and show. Sri  Yellamma  Devi Fair is an important fair of Karnataka state and is organized in the Belgaum district. The fair is attended by thousands of people across Karnataka state. Godachi Fair is another major fair of Karnataka held at Ramdurg tahsil in Belgaum. The fair is visited by thousands of devotees  from far and wide.

Culture of Belgaum

Belgaum is the fine blend of culture of Marathi and Kannada people. Owing to its proximity to Goa and Maharashtra, Belgaum enjoys the cultural diversity. Marathi is the widely spoken language of Belgaum while Kannada is also spoken by many people there. In rural part of the Belgaum district people  are found wearing a turban with long tailpiece in the rear while their women folk are seen wearing sari with the lower half of it worn like a dhoti. People in urban part of the district have changed with the time and have adopted themselves to modern style of dressing and living. A great influence of both Marathi and Kannada can be seen on cultures and traditional customs of Belgaum. Cuisines of Belgaum have Maharashtrian flavor as the city offers many typical Maharashtrian dishes. Belgaum celebrates all major festivals of India with much fanfare.

Culture of Shirdi

Culture of Shirdi
Shirdi is a popular town situated in Maharashtra state. Shirdi is famous for its temple of Sri Sai Baba. The temple is visited by many devotees from across the country throughout the year. Marathi is the widely spoken language of the people while Hindi can also be understood and spoken by some.  Sri Sai Baba is revered by the people of different religions like Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Though the town of Shirdi is inhabited by mainly by Hindu people there other people who belonged to different religion like Muslim and Buddhist. 
The people of Shirdi consider themselves to be privileged ones as it is their town where the India’s most revered saint Sri Sai Baba spent his most of his life. Shirdi has now grown in to a major pilgrimage center visited by lakhs of people from across the country and that had led to the many employment opportunity for the people of Shirdi. People of Shirdi also celebrate many important festivals of India with much fanfare. Earlier the people of Shirdi used to wear their traditional attires. Men used to don the Dhoti and Pheta while their women folk used to wear Choli and Lugda. But now young ones of the town have taken to modern way living. But some elderly men and women are still found in their traditional attires.   

Fair and Festivals in Shirdi

Shirdi Sai Baba
Fairs and Festivals of Shirdi

Shirdi is famous pilgrimage town in India. Situated in Ahamadnagar district of state of Maharashtra, Shirdi is famous for the temple of Sri Sai Baba. Shirdi celebrates all major festivals of India with much fanfare. But there are some festivals in Shirdi that are linked to Sri Sai Baba. 
 Ramnavai is an important festival of India. But in Shirdi the festival has additional importance attached to it. Here in Shirdi celebration of the festival is related to an event happened in the life of Sri Sai Baba. In 1897 Gopal Rao Gund, after he had a child due to the blessing of Sri Sai Baba, proposed to hold Urs (a Muslim fair). Sri Baba conceded to it but asked him to organize it on the day of Ramnavami. The reason behind this was that Baba wanted to bring the people of both communities together and he had succeeded in his purpose to far extent.  Today the celebration of the festival of Ramnavami in Shirdi also witnesses the participation of Muslim people.
 Guru Purnima is another important festival event in Shirdi. Though Guru Purnima is celebrated in all parts of the country, the town of Shirdi witnesses thousands of people visiting the town and seeking the blessings of their guru Sri Sai Baba. On Vijayadashami thousands of devotees visit the temple of Sri Sai Baba in Shirdi as the day of Vijayadashami also happens to be the day of Sai Baba’s Punyatithi (death anniversary). 

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