Shegaon, the home of Shree Sant Gajanan Maharaj’s resting place, is not just another place of worship. The immense efforts undertaken by the Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan in the form of developing a rich landscape called the Anandsagar now draws tourists too.
About 45 kilometers from the city of Akola lies Shegaon – an important centre of commerce in the district of Buldhana, but more prominently, the home of Shree Sant Gajanan Maharaj. Gajanan Maharaj was first spotted in Shegaon as a young man of extraordinary qualities on February 23, 1878. He attained ‘samadhi’ on September 8, 1910 leaving behind a rich legacy that attracts millions to Shegaon yearly. Over the years, not limiting itself merely to activities of worship, the Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan, which is in charge of the temple, has also initiated several social service projects that have led to providing education, medical aid and empowerment facilities for those in need.
Some of these projects include the Sant Shree Gajanan Maharaj Engineering College which is one of the most sought after institution for students aspiring for a professional degree in electronics, computers, electrical and mechanical engineering; an English medium school for children from the town and surrounding villages; a school for mentally challenged children; the Warkari Shikshan Sanstha that was created with the objective of preserving and enriching the ‘warkari’ culture of Maharashtra; a rehabilitation centre for the handicapped; etc. Its other projects include supply of potable water and fodder for cattle to the drought-affected areas, prompt financial aid to areas affected by natural disasters and immunisation camps.
The Sansthan’s recent, most popular and most ambitious project however is ‘Anandsagar’ – a landscaped garden spread over an area of 325 acres with lawns, temples, meditation halls, an amusement park and even a lake with an island. The park was made public in 2005 and work is still underway on several features, including the proposed replica of the famous Vivekananda Kendra at Kanyakumari.
The mini-railway is one of the most popular rides here. It’s a pretty little train that looks straight out of a fairy tale. Chugging out from the station, it meanders through Anandsagar giving its passengers kaleidoscopic glimpses of the park – the lotus pond, amphitheatre, beautiful Ganesh, Shiv and Navagraha temples - all of it ensconced in a refreshing lush green. As many as 60,000 trees were planted at the park’s inception and have been maintained immaculately.
For people reaching Shegaon at odd times or in the wee hours of the mornings, six buses ply between the temple, the bus terminus and the railway station. The Sansthan’s buses also ply between Bhakta Nivas and Anandsagar. The service – a 15 minutes’ drive - is made available free of cost.
Distance from Mumbai: 560 Kms