Shri Swami Samartha Maharaj Mandir Akkalkot , Solapur
Believed to be an incarnation of Shri Dattatreya the name of this spiritual master, popularly called Swami Samarth, is a household word in Maharashtra and the region around. As this Perfect Master chose to reside at a place called Akkalkot for 22 years where he took Mahasamadhi (left his mortal body) in 1878, he is also known as the Maharaj of Akkalkot, Akkalkot is situated in district Solapur of Maharashtra state of India.
For the devotees of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, it would be inspiring to learn about the life and deeds of 'Swami Samarth'. A comparative picturisation of the lives of these two great Saints, i.e. Swami Samarth and Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi would establish a surprising amount of commonness in their lives and deeds which includes their methods of teaching, the universality of their approach and the miracles they performed. Even a critical approach by a non-conformist would ultimately lead to the assertion that the over-all role of these two spiritual masters during the second half of the nineteenth century was similar, if not same. One, who is capable of making finer spiritual analysis, would be faced with a bewildering reality.The reality is that Swami Samarth and Shri Shirdi Sai Baba were the manifestations of the same Divine Spirit in two gross bodies.
Many published writings on both these Saints by different writers authenticate about the interaction between these two Sadgurus both in the gross, and the subtle planes. Just before Mahasamadhi, Swami Samrath advised one of his disciples to worship Shri Sai at Shirdi saying that he (the Swami Samarth) would stay at Shirdi in future.