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Shani Shingnapur – Doorless Houses!!

With statistics showing a steady increase in theft, burglary, murder and all forms of crime, a need for advanced security system has become the need of the hour. Having doors and locks have been the basic form of deterrent to home burglaries, which humanity has resorted to for centuries. Here is a whole village in Shani Shingnapur, situated in Maharashtra, about 160 km from Pune, which is void of doors or any security system whatsoever. It may sound like a utopian land, but it does exist! The houses in this village do not have doors, but just the frames. The only watchman or the guard round the clock is believed to be ‘Lord Shanidev’. The deity is said to be very powerful and the emergence of the idol and the structure has an interesting story behind. The village is believed to be a crime free zone, and no theft has been reported until 2011. There have been varied findings regarding the occurrence of crime and the subsequent reporting.

doorless houses of shani shingnapur

People who commit any form of crime are supposed to be met with a stringent consequence. Either they were punished with sickness of body or mind. Myth has it that the deity is so powerful, and no one can leave the village boundary having committed a crime. The fear psychosis or the sheer belief in the God seems to be the factor keeping crimes at bay. It is an unwritten rule, which is followed till date that new buildings which are constructed even today, do not have doors. The United Commercial Bank opened one of its branches at this place in 2011 and is said to be one of the first lockless bank branches in the history. Keeping in view the guidelines, which have not been followed, the police officials have, however, voiced out their displeasure and concern regarding the security issues.

This place is thronged by millions of pilgrims across the globe. The presiding deity being Lord Shaneshwara, personification of the planet ‘Saturn’ and is a ‘swayambhu’ – which means ‘the one which originated on its own’. The legend has it that the five and a half foot black idol was found amidst the rubble brought in by a flood. When one of the local shepherds tried to dislodge it using a rod, to his amusement saw the rock bleed. That very night the shepherd had a vision in his dream of ‘Lord Shanishwara’, giving him instructions as to how the temple has to be constructed, the ways, rules to worship him, and promise to keep this village free from crime and misery.

Shani mandir

The roofless temple which stands today, is a representation of the connect between all the elements of nature being - earth, air, water, sun, and fire. It is mystifying to see the idol kept on a raised platform. The devotees are allowed to perform ‘pooja or abishekam’ with sesame oil or flowers with their own hands, however, ladies are restricted to mount the platform and do so. The devotees have to follow the stipulated rules; one can perform the rituals only after a bath from the well nearby and clad in wet clothes.

There is an inflow of about 30 to 40 thousand visitors each day, and the number goes up on Saturdays and special occasions such as ‘Amavasya’ and ‘Shani trayodasi’.

The main peculiarities of Shani Shingnapur being: "God is but roof-less, house is but door-less, tree is but shadeless, fear is but enemy-less" there to experience these....

Other places to visit at Shani Shingnapur: Shri Dattatraya temple, Goddess Laxmi Bai temple, and the tomb of Sant Shri Udasi Baba.

The route to be followed from Pune : Laxmi Road – Veer Santaji Ghorpade Road – NH50 – Wellesly Road – Sasson Road – Bund Garden Road – Deccan College Road – Samrat Ashok Road – Shirur – Sangavi Road – State highway 60 – NH 222 – SH 60 – Sonai – Shani Shingnapur.

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