Shri Shanidev: The Doorless Village Shani Shingnapur is a small village in Maharashtra, India that has been depending on their deity for crime prevention measures and thus, has so far avoided using doors, windows or even locks.Such is their faith in Shri Shanidev (Hindu God of Saturn), that they unofficially ban people from having normal safety mechanisms like latches, windows and doors. The people of the town claim that ever since the deity’s idol was set up in the village around 150 years ago, no one has experienced theft or any such grievances.
However, there is some discrepancy about the exact nature and number of crime instances.
Many point out that there has not been a theft in their time, while others note that thieves are always attempting to rob them but that their deity always sends the items back to them.
On the other hand, the village chief from 2004 was forthcoming about crime deterrence factors in Shani Shinhnapur.
According to her, “There have been no robberies in the village. When someone has tried they have gone blind and unless they confessed they were unable to leave the village.”She did however end the account with this statement: “We keep our money in banks that have been built outside the village”. As for the idol in question, it is a tall black rock that stands at approximately 5 feet. Locals state that, years ago, villagers found this rock amongst the debris brought by a bad flood. They were mystified by its texture and overall look and were even more surprised to find that the rock bled after being poked and probed with sticks.Initial fear of the black stone gave way to wonder when people started having dreams that linked it to Lord Shani. Soon they received instructions through their dreams to construct an open-roof shrine for this earthly representation of their deity.The roofless feature was followed by the doorless village concept, both of which emphasized the close bond between Lord Shani and his people.
Their rituals also followed this basic idea where pilgrims and patrons did not require the help of a priest for darshans (prayers).
However, there are some limits in this special relationship. The deity has placed a restraining order of sorts against women and thus, they can only worship him from afar.
Nonetheless, the shrine and the quirky details of its surrounds are accepted by men and women alike.
In fact, this religious structure is one of the most popular temples in the country.