Solapur is well connected from Bangalore by rail. There are many trains & buses from Bangalore to Solapur. It is around 675 – 700kms from Bangalore depending on the train route.
Bangalore to Solapur Train Timings
There is Bhakta Niwas, recently built, for people who like to be comfortable, even during a pilgrimage. Here, the rooms all have attached bathrooms, and there are also large rooms for groups. The charges here start from Rs. 250.
Both the complexes have a vegetarian restaurant on the premises. The food is both cheap as well as tasty. The Swami Samarth Samadhi Devasthan, the temple housing the Samadhi is a small and neat place, calm and tranquil, transporting one back to the days of yore when the swami was alive. If one reaches the temple before 11:30 AM, one can perform Abhishek and puja of the Padukas of the Swami for as little as Rs. 25 per person. It is worth it, as one is allowed into the sanctum sanctorum, and can see the Samadhi and the Padukas up close. After 11:30, the Padukas are decorated and kept for viewing only.
Akkalkot is a Holy place of Shri.Swami Samarth Maharaj. It is located at a distance of 38 kms. by road from Solapur District headquarters. This Saint is believed to be the reincarnation of Lord Dattatraya. The Samadhi of this Saint is worshipped by the devotees. The Death Anniversary is celebrated on Chaitra Shuddha Trayodashi every year. Large number of devotees visit the place.
The present temple is built around famous banyan tree. This is the same banyan tree sitting under which Shri.Swami Maharaj used to meditate and preach the followers. The temple consists of main temple, sabha mandap and accommodation. Annacchatra (free meals to devotees) is organized daily (two times in day) by temple authorities.
Swami Samarth Maharaj sitting under banyan tree
The Swami Samarth Maharaj came to Akkalkot at the beginning of Shake 1779. The total period of reincarnation of Swamiji as the fourth Avataar of Shri. Datta is forty years of which he spent 21 years in Akkalkot.
In and around Akkalkot, there are other minor places of interest like the ashrams and samadhis of various disciples of Swami Samarth. These places are not as popular as the main temple, but are worth a visit simply because the places have been maintained quite well, and are exactly as they used to be, and one can still feel the atmosphere that comes from years of meditation and penance. The best way to visit all these places is to hire a local auto driver as a guide. The chaps are only too happy to take one around the village for 50 Rupees.
Around 2 Km from Akkalkot is another place worth a visit for a traveler on a spiritual quest. The Shivpuri Ashram is a legacy of one of Swami Samarth's disciples, Shree Gajanan Maharaj (not the Gajanan maharaj of Shegaon), and his father, Shree Yogindra Maharaj. They were responsible for the revival of the ancient system of Agnihotra, or the maintenance of the sacred fire. The ashram is a serene place, with the Samadhi of the swamiji and his descendants and disciples. It is amazing how they have managed to popularize the age old concept of Agnihotra.
The holy Samadhi of Shri. Swamiji is loacated in the house of shri. Cholappa in the place already reserved for it before his bodily demise. This is known as Samadhimath.
The spiritual fearless slogan in marathi ‘BHIU NAKOS MI TUJHYA PATHISHI AAHE’ (Don’t fear, I am with you) is given by Shri. Samarth Swami Maharaj himself.
The name of Akkalkot Maharaj Swami Samarth comes in Shirdi Saibaba's Sai Satcharitha. Hence, All the sai devotees must and should visit this holy place of Akkalkot without fail atleast once during their lifetime and get the blessings of the great Datta Avatar Shri. Swami Samarth.
Finally, a very happy journey to all the saidevotees who are flocking to Akkalkot to have the darshan of Shri.Swami Samarth.