Shani Shingnapur, a village having houses without doors
Have you ever heard about the fact that no house in the village have door?? Or is it possible to imagine a village where people live in harmony in no-doors-no-locks houses? Regardless this, no theft is reported there. But this fact is true in Shani Shingnapur, a small village in the Indian state of Maharashtra, situated in Nevasa about 35 KM from Ahmadnagar district.
Shani Shingnapur is a popular village in Maharashtra known for its famous temple of Shri Shaneshwara or Lord Shanidev, personification of the planet Saturn. Shri Shanidev, a spectacle deity in black stone is worshipped here with utmost reverence and the exclusive aspect of this place is, there is a simple platform on which the Swayambhu idol stands and no temple structure houses the Shanidev. This village is well known in the whole country for the fact that, every house in this village and other buildings such as shop, hotels, banks and other government buildings are without doors having only door frames and curtains and villagers never keep their valuable things in lock or under keys. And despite of this, in this region no thief dares to rob. It is believed that the temple situated here is a live temple which means that God Shani is very powerful and punishes who attempts to rob or steal. People in this village lives here with the single belief that Lord Shaneshwara protects them from thieves and other ills.
Mythological story behind slow movement of Lord Shaneshwar
The legend is that Suryadeva (personification of Sun) son of Bramha was married to Sandna (daughter of Daksha Prajapati). Suryadeva and Sandna had two sons Dakshinadhipati Yama and Shri Shanidev and four daughters tapti, Bhadra, Kalini and Savitri.
Sandna found it unbearable to live with Surya’s light and heat, created her own replica and named as Sanvarna and asked her to live with Suryadeva and behave as his wife, perform all the duties and told her not to reveal this to Suryadeva till the time comes. Sandna went to her father’s place but he did not accept her and advised to go back to her husband but she did not follow and transformed herself into a mare and resided in Himalayas, started penance. In the meantime, Sarvana performed the role of wife and also gave birth to five sons and two daughters. One day Shanideva was very hungry and asked her to give something, she asked him to wait for some time but Shanidev insisted to feed him first and kicked her in anger. In return Sanvarna cursed him that his leg would break. Shanideva complained about this matter to his father, he said “a mother would never curse like this “and soon he found that she was not Sandna when he asked her about Sandna then she confessed all to him. Suryadeva said that curse is a curse but then mellowed the curse and Shaneshwar became lame and started limping.
Features of Shani Shingnapur
The village is very popular in India and devotees come here from all over the world. There are many legends and unique features about this place and these unique features are
· “There is a God, but no temple” – Black stone statue of Shani have appeared in this place on its own and it is said that Shaneshwar instructed himself that never build temple or roof over his idol. Therefore the statue is present under the open sky and despite of the adversities of climate like cold, rain, sunlight or storm, the statue is resistant to all form of adversities.
· “There is a tree, but no shade” –There was a neem (Azadirachta Indica) tree near the Mulasthana, near the statue of Shri Shaneshwar but every time a branch grew near the statue it would automatically break and fall down and the shadow of tree never fall on the statue. That is why it is said that there is a tree but no shade.
· “There is a home, but no door” – This is the most unique feature about this village that there are no doors or locks to houses. Shani Maharaj is the only guardian to this village and people strongly believe that Lord Shaneshwar protects them from thieves and all ills. Villagers tell many stories about why nobody dares to steal another’s property and also about how Lord Shaneshwar punished an outsider when they have made an attempt to steal.
· “There is fear, but no attacker” – Villagers believe in Lord but there for an outsider to believe a village without doors and locks is totally impossible, therefore many visitors scare to spend night in this village because there are no doors and no locks but as per the history of this village no one dares to do anything wrong here.
Shani Shingnapur that differentiated itself from other villages and attracts number of devotees from all over the world every day and one can witness a bee line of tourist’s cars, buses and taxis plying on the way to the village. Shani Shingnapur is the unique pilgrimage centre and visiting this village gave me amazing experiences. I wish Shri Shaneshwar protect us all.