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Shani Shingnapur – the village with no doors on houses

April 26, 2009

Shani Shingnapur, also known as Sonai, is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmadnagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god of the planet (graha) Saturn.

Shani Shingnapur Temple

Shani Shingnapur Temple

Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft is reported in the village. Villagers never keep their valuables under lock and key. Legend says that the temple is a “jagrut devasthan” (lit. “alive temple”), meaning that the god here is very powerful. They believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft. Devotees, pilgrims and tourists arriving in Sonai can leave their valuables in a car or bus with all the doors unlocked and not worry about anyone stealing it. The only barrier to enter a house are curtains which keep out stray animals. People believe that nobody dares to steal anything because they are punished by Shanishwara, the local deity, and the owner has always got the stolen things back – if any such thing ever happens.

The village has a post office and a high school known as Shri Shanishwar Vidya Mandir besides the primary schools run by the Zilla Parishad. The chief source of water supply in the villages is wells.

Shrine of Shani
The shrine for Shani compromises of a five and a half feet high black rock installed on an open-air platform, which symbolizes the god Shani. A Trishula (trident) is placed along the side of the image and a Nandi (bull) image is on the south side. In front are the small images of Shiva and Hanuman.



Generally, the temple has 30-40,000 visitors a day, which swells to around three lakh (i.e. three hundred thousand) on amavasya (the new moon day), believed to the most auspicious day to appease Lord Shani. The village holds a fair in honour of the deity on this day. A bigger fair on new moon days that fall on Saturdays. Devotees bathe Lord Shani’s image with water and oil and offer flowers, and udid to him. A palanquin procession of Shani is held on the day of the fair. Other festivals include the birthday of Shani, Shani Jayanti.

Devotees generally wear a saffron-coloured attire and have a head bath in the holy water close to the temple before entering it. There is no priest to perform the pooja. The pooja is carried out in the form of offering Pradakshinams – of going around the idol a couple of times, chanting specific prayers such as Shani gayathri and slokas. Devotees also perform Abhishekam with water and gingelly oil.

Some facts about Shani Shingnapur
1. The idol is out in the open, as the Lord made it clear in various ways to his devotees, that He did not want to be covered.

2. The temple is open for everyone twenty-four hours. Even at night, men (women are not allowed near the deity) can bring the puja material and perform all prayers by themselves.

3. No house / shop in the village has doors. It’s believed that the deity protects them and if someone tries to steal or do something wrong, they would be paralysed.

Getting There
Shani Shingnapur is 350km from Mumbai and to reach there it’s best to hire a taxi from Mumbai. Long-distace cabbies from Mumbai take about 7 hours to reach Shani Shingnapur. Although there are MSTC (Maharashtra State Transport Corp) buses from Mumbai to Shirdi (60 km from Shani Shingnapur) and privatly-operated buses as well, locals advise not to attempt the bumpy, shaky ride on the MSTC buses, nor the long, frequent-stopping private buses.

The nearest airport is Aurangabad (144 Km) which is connected by Indian Airlines and private airlines with other cities/towns.

Trains from Mumbai leave for Nasik (123Km) and Manmad (60Km).

The village, being a very small one, does not offer any accommodation for the devotees, though there is a Dharmastala nearby where the devotees are fed. Since the village is about 60 km. from Shirdi, it is advisable to stay at Shirdi and visit this unique temple.

Shirdi Hotels

Sun N Sand
Plot No. 109/P-124/P, Village Nighoj, Taluka Kopergaon, Shirdi
Tel: +91-2423-2557 28 / 29 / 30
Fax: +91-2423-2555 94
E-mail :
Garlanded by 5 acres of lush greenery, the hotel is a short walk from Sai Baba’s Shrine, making its location an ideal one for the disciples. 100 rooms overlook the swimming pool or the serene town of Shirdi. The hotel has a choice of rooms to choose from Standard room, Studio room, Suites
Double/twin bed attached bath, Satellite TV, Telephone.
Check in/out time: 24 hours
Vegetarian meals only. Country Green (multi cuisine restaurant, 12.30pm-3pm, 7.30pm-11.30pm)
Swimming pool, Steam, Sauna, games, Safe deposit, running track, parking, driver available upon request.

Hotel Shraddha Park Inn
Pimplewadi Road, Shirdi
Offers 75 Superior Rooms amidst lush green landscaped gardens. Every room is equipped with luxurious comforts & modern amenities including attached bath with running hot and cold water, CCTV, mini refrigerator, color television, direct dial telephones & 24 hours room service. The hotel has 3 swimming pools one indoor pool, one outdoor pool and one children pool.
Central air-conditioning, cable television in all rooms, direct dial phones, 24 hour room service, restaurant serving Indian and Chinese food, business services, photocopying, travel desk, parking, laundry, fax, e-mail, internet access.

Hotel Sai Leela
9/5A, Pimpalwadi Road, Shirdi
200 km. from Pune Airport, 16 km. from Kopargaon Railway Station, 80 km. from Nashik Railway Station, 50 km. from Manmad Railway Station, 270 km. from Mumbai.
Located near the Sai Baba temple. 90 elegantly furnished rooms categorized into 4 Single Rooms, 70 Double Rooms and 16 Deluxe Rooms. All rooms have a private balcony with a panoramic view, attached bathroom with running hot and cold water, Television with satellite connection, direct dial telephone, wooden furniture, spacious closets and radio. The hotel has both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned rooms.
24 hours room service with no service charge, pool tables, table tennis, carom, video games, no tax on food, buffet service available for large groups, 24 hour security, 24 hour amenities shop, car wash facility at a nominal charge, free pick-up and drop to temple, a 6000 square feet swimming pool, water park facilities, slides and upcoming water gun pool, children’s playground, luscious green gardens, cricket nets, basketball, volleyball, mini golf, putting course, cycling track and jogging track and nursery with plants for sale.


Hotel Goradia’s, Shirdi
Pimpalwadi Road, Behind Sai Udyan, Shirdi
120 km. from Aurangabad Airport, 60 km. from Manmad Railway Station, 15 km. from Kopergaon Railway Station.
Located at a stone’s throw from the famous shrine of Sai Baba.
Offers 80 well-furnished double rooms and 160 beds. All the 80 rooms are air-conditioned. The rooms at the hotel are spacious, cozy and comfortable. Each guest room is fitted with a color television, in-house movies, 4-channel music, air-conditioning, a direct-dial telephone and a private toilet and shower with hot and cold running water.
Specialty restaurant, 24 hours room service, satellite channels, 4 channel music system, automatic wake up calls, meeting, banquet & conference facilities, valet parking, safe deposit lockers, doctor on call, travel desk, car rental, children play park & rides, color television in all rooms, laundry service, shopping arcade, valet parking, internet facilities, 24 hour check-out, left luggage room, fax, free accommodation for drivers, doctor on call, pool table, video-games, indoor games, all major credit cards accepted, no service charges.

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