Shani Shingnapur or Sonai is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasataluka in Ahmednagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn. Shingnapur is 35 km from Ahmednagar city.
The temple is believed to be a “jagrut devasthan” (lit. “alive temple”), meaning that a deity still resides in the temple icon. Villagers believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft. It is believed to be in existence at least since the start of Kali yuga. Shani Shingnapur is home to nearly 4,000 people and all the houses in this village do not have doors or locks. You’ll just find the door frame. This is because of the villager’s immense and undying faith in the Hindu deity, Shani Dev.
The Story Behind No Door or Locks in This Village According to the legends, about 400 years ago, due to incessant rains, a slab of black stone washed up on the banks of the Panasnala River in the branches of a berry tree, and when the local shepherd prodded the stone boulder with a pointed rod, blood started dribbling from the stone. Later that night, Lord Shanaishwar (God Shani) came into the dream of the most devoted shepherd and told him that the slab of black stone was his own idol. The shepherd asked Lord Shani whether he should build a temple for him, which Lord Shani denied. Lord Shani said that this slab should be installed in the village, where he would reside. Further, he said that no roof or shelter was to be built over his idol, thus enabling him to keep an eye over the village without any hindrance, and he promised to protect the whole hamlet from any kind of danger or mishap. And, since then, the whole village got rid of all the locks and doors, leaving their money and jewelry unsecured, with a belief that Lord Shani is watching them and will keep them protected. Today, Lord Shanaishwar stands in an open yard without a roof.
In fact, the post office and shops in this village also do not have doors. In January 2011, the UCO Bank opened a ‘lockless’ branch in the village, the first of its kind in the country, taking note of the near-zero crime rate in the region. The local police were reported to be unhappy over this development and that it amounted to a breach of conditions, because the Central government of India has made it mandatory for all banks to have high security.The bank has doors,but they will always remain open. However, it was reported by the local legislator and the bank officials that adequate precautions were being taken for the safety of lockers and important documents.