Claiming Saibaba was first spotted in Dhoopkheda, villagers seek Rs 50 cr funds

Simran Kashyap

Aurangabad, Jan 20: Amid a row over the actual birthplace of Saibaba, villagers of Dhoopkheda in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district have demanded funds to the tune of Rs 50 crore for development of the place claiming that the 19th Century saint had been first spotted in their village.

Terming Dhoopkheda as Saibaba's "Prakatbhoomi" or the land where he was spotted first, the villagers have now sought parity with Shirdi and Pathri.

While Shirdi in Ahmednagar district has long been associated with Saibaba for being his abode till his death, Pathri in Parbhani district is being claimed by some to be his actual birthplace.

Controversy over birthplace of Saibaba resolved after Uddhav Thackeray hold meeting

On Sunday, a bandh was observed in Shirdi against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's announcement to grant Rs 100 crore for development of facilities at "Sai janmasthan" (birthplace) at Pathri. Shirdi MP Sadashiv Lokhande of the Shiv Sena said on Monday that the controversy over the birthplace of Saibaba has been resolved in the meeting with the CM in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, villagers in Dhoopkheda, around 31 km from Aurangabad, on Monday passed a resolution demanding funds for infrastructure development, said village sarpanch Kailas Wagchoure.

"There is no dispute over Dhoopkheda being the 'prakatbhoomi' of Saibaba, as his biography mentions so. Chand Patel who took Saibaba from here to Shirdi belonged to Dhoopkheda. Patel took Saibaba to Shirdi for his sister's marriage.

After that Saibaba never returned here," he said. Waghchoure demanded fund to the tune of Rs 50 crore to construct good roads and develop premises of the Saibaba temple.

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