Shani Shignapur the village without doors in India about 300kms from Mumbai in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra State. In this remote Indian temple village of Shani Shingnapur crime is a concept so alien that villagers here have stopped guarding their houses, their properties and their valuables. Nobody likes their cars and motorbikes anymore. Shopkeepers leave cash in unlocked drawers overnight and housewife’s keep jewellery in unlocked boxes inside houses that have no doors just a wooden door frame with the curtain drawn across to protect the privacy of the residents. Such as the faith the villagers have on their heavenly guardian Lord Shaneeshwara who they believed protects them from thieves.
Legend has it that hundreds of years ago after a period of intense rain and flooding a heavy black stone was found washed up on the shores of the river that runs through the village when locals touched the stone the blood started oozing out of it. Then on the same night, the village head had a dream in which lord Shaneeshwara spoke to him and revealed that the stone was, in fact, God himself. Lord Shani instructed the villager head to keep him in the village because he wished to stay there and protect its people but they should keep the stone in open so that he could oversee the village. The next day the villagers pulled the Lord to dry land and installed it on a roofless platform at the centre of the village. Lord Shani asked the village head to do daily pooja and ‘Tailabhishekam‘ every Saturday without fail.
They also decided to do away with all doors and locks on their houses with the Lord watching over them they didn’t need doors anymore. The tradition has continued since then over the years the lore has grown, villagers are full of tales about failed robbery attempts where thieves walk all nights thinking they have left the village only to find themselves still in the village in the morning, Apparently they were walking in circles. Another local lore says that one villager installed doors on his house and had a car accident the very next day.
Shani Shingnapur remained in obscurity until the 1990’s when it appeared on a Bollywood flick after which it began drawing thousands of tourists and pilgrims from across the country.
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