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The Village with no
locks or doors!
Imagine a village where homes have no front doors, shops are always left unlocked and locals never feel unsafe.

This is the story of Shani Shingnapur in India’s Maharashtra state, where villagers eschew security because of their undying faith in Lord Shani, the god of Saturn, who is considered the guardian of the village. Legend has it that about 300 years ago, after a bout of rain and flooding, a heavy black slab of rock was found washed up on the shores of the Panasnala River, which once flowed through the village. Later that night, Shani appeared in the dreams of the village head, revealing that the slab was his own idol. The deity ordered that the slab should be kept in the village, where he would reside from here on. But Shani had one condition: the rock and its colossal powers must not be sheltered as he needed to be able to oversee the village without hindrance. Shani then blessed the leader and promised to protect the village from danger.
After the villagers installed the huge slab on a roofless platform in the heart of town, they decided to discard all doors and locks. They didn’t need them anymore, not with the Lord to watch over them.This tradition has continued for generations. Locals occasionally lean wooden panels against their front door frames to keep stray dogs out – but they have no permanent doors, and leave their jewellery and money unsecured, firmly believing that their holy guardian will protect them from any mishap. Even the public toilets in the village square just have a thin curtain at the entrance for privacy.

New constructions have to honour these protocols, too. The police station – which only opened in September 2015 and has not yet received a single complaint from the villagers – has no front door; while the United Commercial Bank opened India’s first “lockless” branch in Shani Shingnapur in 2011, installing a glass entrance in the spirit of transparency and a barely visible remote-controlled electromagnetic lock in respect of the villagers’ beliefs.

Locals are so nonchalant that they don’t even ask their neighbours to watch over their house while they are out of town. They believe that thieves will immediately be punished with blindness and anyone dishonest will face seven-and-a-half years of bad luck. In fact, local lore says that when one villager installed wooden panes at the entrance of his house, he had a car accident the very next day.

Because of this strange history, Shani Shingnapur attracts devotees from across India. At least 40,000 visitors pour in each day to see the once-humble shrine that has grown into a large temple.

Although Shani Shingnapur has officially remained free from thefts for centuries, a 2010 visitor reported that cash and valuables worth 35,000 rupees were stolen from his vehicle. Another theft of gold ornaments worth 70,000 rupees was reported in 2011. However the charges were dismissed as the villagers insisted that they took place outside the village.

Most villagers at Shani Shingnapur hope that the tradition will continue for many centuries to come.

How to reach

Shani Shingnapur by Road

Mumbai to Shani Shingnapur: Shani Shingnapur is situated around 300 KM from Mumbai. To travel Shani Shingnapur from Mumbai head towards Panvel and take Mumbai Pune expressway till Talegao. From Talegaon Dabhade head towards Chakan > Ranjangaon > Shirur > Supe > Ahmednagar and reach Shani Shingnapur from Ghodegaon.

Shirdi to Shani Shingnapur: To travel Shani Shingnapur from Shirdi head towards Sakori > Rahata > Kolhar BK > Rahuri. From Rahuri take a left turn to reach Shani Shingnapur from Sonai.

Mumbai to Shani Shingnapur: Shani Shingnapur is situated around 300 KM from Mumbai. To travel Shani Shingnapur from Mumbai head towards Panvel and take Mumbai Pune expressway till Talegao. From Talegaon Dabhade head towards Chakan > Ranjangaon > Shirur > Supe > Ahmednagar and reach Shani Shingnapur from Ghodegaon.

Pune to Shani Shingnapur: To travel from Pune to Shani Shingnapur head towards Lonikand > Shikrapur > Ranjangaon > Supe > Ahmednagar > Shani Shingnapur.

Nashik to Shani Shingnapur: From Nashik head towards Sinnar > Nandur Shingote > Loni > Rahuri. From Rahuri take a left turn to reach Shani Shingnapur from Sonai.

Shani Shingnapur By Train
The nearest railway stations to Shani Shingnapur are Rahuri (32 km), Ahmednagar (35 km), and Shrirampur (54 km), Shirdi Railway Station (75 km). One can avail trains from these stations to varied destinations. This includes Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Manmad, Goa, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Shirdi as well as other places across India.

After alighting at the nearest station to Shani Shingnapur one has to take auto-rickshaws, taxis, other private vehicles or local buses to reach the temple village.

Shani Shingnapur By Air
The nearest airport to Shani Shingnapur is Aurangabad airport located at a distance of 90 km. Airport at Nasik is situated 144 km away. From here, one can travel on to any city across India by catching the relevant domestic flight. Both domestic and international travelers can catch a flight to Mumbai and then travel 293 km more via road to reach Shani Shingnapur. Pune domestic airport is located at a distance of over 161 km from the pilgrim destination.

 
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