Ever felt paranoid at the idea of having left the door to your house open at night! We all have felt that sometime and felt compelled to go and check if the door is locked properly or not. But this is not the case in this small village in Maharashtra, called Shani Signapur in the Ahmednagar district. People in this village do not have front doors to their houses or shops which are left unlocked and even no doors to the banks, yet people and things in the village are safe and never stolen. Strange right? But true! Such is the power of faith!
Legend has it…
This undying faith is attributed to the Hindu Lord Shani, the God of Saturn, who is the safe keeper of the village and looks over it all the time. It is said that almost 300 years ago, a thick black chunk of rock was found washed up on the shores of the Panasnala River which then flowed through the village. The rock started oozing blood when it was touched with a stick by the locals. Later that night the head of the village saw a dream where Lord Shani himself said that the rock was his idol and should stay in the village, this is where he would reside from now on.
He also mentioned that he did not want a temple built for the rock instead he would stay unsheltered so that he could protect the village and look after its security and safety. So it happened, the rock was placed on a roofless platform in the middle of the village. And since then because Lord Shani himself was keeping an eye on the village safety the villagers did not find the need to lock up their houses, shops or have doors for safety because if someone did dare to steal or commit a crime, Lord Shani would punish the person. It is this unshakable faith on him that even in today’s time when the crime is so common no one dares to commit one here and nor do the people believe anyone would.
No locks, No doors…
Jewelry and money are also left unlocked in the houses, and public toilets have curtains instead of doors. Even the police station opened in 2015 does not have a door and has not yet registered any theft complaints. That sure makes their work easier! Also, any new constructions need to obey the same no doors tradition. The new UCO bank opened India’s first “lockless” branch here in 2011, though installed a glass entrance to honor the tradition and a remote-controlled electromagnetic lock.
It is believed that anyone who steals would be punished with blindness and years of bad luck. Owing to the folklore and strong faith prevalent here the village sees an average footfall of 40,000 people who throng to visit the shrine and experience this unique place.
There has been debate over a few thefts, but nothing could be proved. Whether these age-old beliefs will remain and will continue in today’s world is debatable. Such as in the year 2016, the age old tradition of only allowing males to enter the temple was replaced by a new law after huge debate and protests and finally 8th April 2016 onwards women are also allowed to enter the temple. Over the years the no door traditions may or may not change, but the rare level of thefts or crime reported in the village even in today’s age and time is still commendable.
How to reach Shani Signapur:
One can travel to this place by MTDC state transport buses, private buses, hired taxis or personal cars.
It is at 32kms from Rahuri bus stop, 35kms from Ahmednagar and Aurangabad is 84 km away. Nasik, Pune, and Mumbai are at 144 km,161 km, 293 km respectively.