Shirdi set for three-day Gurupournima festivalJuly 16th, 2008 - 12:46 pm ICT by IANS
Shirdi (Maharashtra), July 16 (IANS) The temple of 20th century saint Shri Sai Baba here is all set for a grand celebration of Gurupournima, a special day that extols the lofty guru-shishya (teacher-student) tradition. The temple trust, called the Sai Baba Sansthan, has chalked out a three-day programme beginning Thursday to mark the occasion meant for the pupil to express gratitude to the teacher and for the teacher to shower benediction on his pupil.
The shrine trustees say Gurupournima, also called Vyaspournima after sage Vyas who is believed to have written the epic “Mahabharata”, is celebrated annually by Sai Baba’s followers.
The festival will begin with pre-dawn prayers (kakad arati). Following that, a grand procession of Sai Baba’s portrait and biography will be taken out through this town, about 300 km from state capital Mumbai.
A continuous recitation (akhand parayan) of “Saicharitra” - the story of Sai Baba’s life, distribution of a sanctified mixture of savouries and dahi-handi (a game in which youngsters form a human pyramid to break earthen pots carrying curd hanging at daunting heights, a la Lord Krishna and his playmates) will be the other highlights of the festival.
The Sai Temple has become one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in India. On an average, 50,000 people visit Shirdi daily, more on holidays.