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The village of Shani Shignapur has no doors and yet there have been no thefts recorded there.
Did you know that there is a village in India that does not have doors, but only door frames? Yet there are no thefts in this village! Well it is true; it’s the village of Shani Shignapur which is located in Nevasa Taluka district in Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra.
Shignapur is 35 km north of the district of Ahmednagar and it is widely known for the temple of Shani situated here. Although people here don’t have doors, there were no thefts reported other than the years 2010 and 2011.
People accept as true that the Shani temple is a “jagrut devasthan” which translates to “alive temple” which basically means that the deity is still living in the village. It is deemed that Lord Shani chastises anyone who even thinks of attempting a theft.
The deity in the temple is known as “Swayambhu” which means it emerged from within the earth as a black stone which the people started worshipping. The folklore says that it was first discovered by a group of shepherds and has been present since kali yuga.
The story behind the temple is that when a group of shepherds discovered the stone, they touched it with a rod and it started bleeding, the people were taken aback and gathered around t witness this miracle. The most faithful and loyal shepherds then dreamt of Lord Shaneeshwara who told them that the black stone they just discovered was his Swayambhu form.
The shepherds asked the Lord if they should erect a temple for him to stay, to which the Lord replied that the entire sky was his crown and he doesn’t need a rock roof. He just asked them to do one thing that prays daily and do a “Tailabhisheka” every Saturday.
The lord in return blessed the entire village so that the villagers will have never dread burglars or dacoits. Even today the people of Shani Shignapur have faith in the fact that Lord Shani can be witnessed in any open area with no roof. They to this day haven’t locked the door of their houses; in fact, some houses don’t even have doors. The post office too has never been locked.
Shani Shignapur is very famous amongst devotees and they come to pray to Lord Shani in large numbers. It’s the busiest on Saturdays as that is deemed to be the most propitious and much loved day of the Lord.
The largest crowds can be seen on Saturdays which fall on Amavasya as that is considered to be the most promising and positive day. It is said that people who worship the lord on this day make him very happy and get his blessings.
In so many years, Shani Shignapur has never recorded a single case of murder, rapes or riots. It is also said that no one from this village has ever aged or been to an old home and not even one complaint has been reported with the police station.
The Shrine of the temple in Shani Shignapur is a five and a half feet high black rock on an open-air elevated block. The villagers have placed a trident next to the rock and a Nandi or bull image to the south of the shrine. Images of Lord Shiva and Hanuman have been placed in front of the shrine.
The temple witnesses around 30,000-40,000 visitors daily which rises to 3, 00,000 on Amavasya which is said to be the most propitious day to worship Lord Shani. The villagers also organize a fair for the Lord and even a bigger one on Saturdays.
The worshippers of Lord, Shani travel all the way to Shani Shignapur to seek blessings of Lord Shani and bathe the shrine with water, oil and offer udid and flowers. The birthday of Lord Shani is also celebrated on a large scale as Shani Jayanti.
However the village of Shani Shignapur has had its fair share of controversies. As per the 400-year-old tradition women were not allowed to go in the inner chamber of the temple. But as times changed women started fighting for their rights.
On 26th January 2016, activist Trupti Desai led a group of women into the temple under the name “Bhumata Ranragani Brigade” but they were denied entry by the police. This didn’t stop them from fighting for their rights.
Their efforts finally bore fruit and on 30th March 2016, the Bombay High Court finally passed the resolution to allow women in the temple and on the 8th of April 2016 the Shani Shignapur trust allowed women in the inner chamber of the temple.
Another interesting fact about Shani Shignapur is that UCO Bank opened the first ever lockless division in the village because of the spectacular zero crime rate of the village. However, the local police was discontented about this as this led to a breach of many conditions. The bank has doors but they remain open always and the bank administration has taken the necessary precautions.
The village of Shani Shignapur is proof of the faith the people have in Lord Shani.