Most of the metro cities are determined to strengthen their doors and locks with a high-tech security system. On the other hand, Shani Shingnapur, a small village located in the Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra, seems to defy this norm. All the shops and houses within the village have no doors or locks.
One cannot even imagine staying like that in the city, right? If there would’ve been no doors or locks, one would always be in a constant state of fear and unease. However, this is not what the villagers of Shani Singnapur would agree with. Despite the fact that there’s no security system at their home, the villagers never feel threatened or insecure. Apart from the house, all the shops also remain unlocked 24/7. This place became the center of discussion when India’s first doorless bank was opened in the year 2011.
A popular belief
Shani Shingnapur accommodates around 4,000 people & all of them live without locks or doors. All the villagers believe that the Hindu Lord, Shani Dev is their one and only protector. They carry immense faith and belief over this Hindu God. As per their belief, Shani dev provides protection from the devil and watches over all of them. When it comes to robbery or stealing, the villagers believe that God Shani will punish the offender with long sickness, mental imbalance, or blindness.
And the one who is dishonest and goes on the wrong track, he shall be punished with Sade-Sati, meaning bad luck for seven and a half years- either through death, bankruptcy, or accident. Also, people who try to secure their houses with doors and locks will suffer from misfortune and punishment. For instance, once a resident tried to secure the entrance of his house by putting wooden panes. On the following day, the man met with an accident and died.
What gave rise to this belief and practice?
Legend tells us that, around four centuries ago, a black stone was washed up to the embankments of River Panasnala. A local shepherd poked the boulder using a pointed rod. The next thing he saw frightened him. Blood started oozing out from the boulder. Not to forget that the shepherd was also one of the most devoted people. In the middle of that night, Lord Shani made an appearance in his dream. Lord Shani informed him that he had come to visit beneath the mask of a stone boulder. He also ordered him to install the slab inside the village.
Also, he said he would reside in the village only in one condition. The condition was, there must not be any roof or shelter over his idol. He wanted to reside in the middle of the village under the naked sky. Any object that would act as a hindrance while keeping an eye on all the villagers would be unacceptable to him. If all his demands were met, he promised to provide life-long protection to the villagers from any mishap or danger.
Since then, the entire hamlet removed all the doors and locks, leaving all their valuables unlocked and unsecured. Apart from the houses, shops, post offices, and banks also do not possess any doors or locks. For the sake of continuing the traditional custom, the UCO bank was established in 2011 without any security system at the entrance. In the year 2015, again, there was an establishment of a police station without doors.
Despite having a huge potential for robbery, the Shani Shingnapur village has a minimal level of crime. With the blessing and miraculous power of Lord Shani, the village remains unharmed until today. When you pay a visit to this village, even now you can notice houses without any doors and locks.
How to Reach?
If you want to travel through the road, then use the services of MSTRC or Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. You can hire a bus from any city of Maharashtra, such as Pune, Shirdi, Ahmednagar, Mumbai, Rahuri, and Vashi. As said above, one can always hire a private bus, cab, or taxi at an affordable rate.
Nearest Railway Station: Shani Shingnapur is well connected with major cities via rail. Being just 32 km away from the main destination, Rahuri is the nearest railway station.
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport is 90 km away from the village. You can board a flight to Aurangabad airport and then cover the rest of the distance by hiring a cab, taxi, private bus, or the services of MSRTC.
With its rich culture and heritage, India is like a box of gifts that is jam-packed with surprises, which will leave you awe-struck. You’d be amazed to see the citizens’ immense faith and belief for their culture and tradition. Shani Shingnapur is an epitome of that. You must pay a visit to this village to witness a rich culture and tradition of India.