Shani Shingnapur Temple
Shani Shingnapur is the name of a village in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra; the village is known for its popular temple of Lord Shani – Shri Shaneshwar Devasthan Shani Shingnapur the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn.
Shingnapur is also known for the quality, that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft was reported in the village until 2010. The Shani Shingnapur temple is believed to be a “jagrut devasthan” that translates into “alive temple”, meaning that a deity still resides in the temple icon. Villagers believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft.
“Swayambhu” is the presiding deity here. This means the ‘self-evolved’ deity. The temple has a promising purity in its atmosphere. It is significant and lately gained prominence because it lifted the ban on women’s entrance in the temple.
History of Shani Shingnapur Temple
Ahmednagar’s population is known popularly as the place of saints. There are four legends around this temple.
“There is God, but no temple.”
“There is a home, but no door.”
“There is a tree, but no shade.”
“There is fear, but no enemy.”
The story of the swayambhu statue handed down from generations through word of mouth, goes something like this: When the Shepherd touched the stone with a pointed rod, the stone started bleeding. The shepherds were astounded. Soon the whole village gathered around to watch the miracle. On that night Lord Shanaishwara appeared in the dream of the most devoted and pious of the shepherds.
He told the shepherd that he is “Shanaishwara”. He also told that the unique looking black stone is his swayambhu form. The shepherd prayed and asked the lord whether he should construct a temple for him. To this, Lord Shani Mahatma said there is no need for a roof as the whole sky is his roof and he preferred to be under open sky. He asked the shepherd to do daily pooja and ‘Tailabhisheka’ every Saturday without fail. He also promised the whole hamlet will have no fear of dacoits or burglars or thieves.
Significance of Shani Shingnapur Temple
- The shrine for Shani consists of a five and a half feet high black rock installed on an open-air platform, which symbolizes the god Shani.
- In the times of Acharya Udasi Baba, there would be only three people visiting the shrine. Namely, Dagdu Changediya, Hastimal Chnagediya and the mother of Badri Tokse. They too used to come only on Saturday. Now, daily there are over 13000 visitors.
- Unlike other pilgrimage centres, devotees here can perform puja or abhishek or other religious rituals themselves.
- One of the unique aspects of the village Shingnapur is that houses here have no door- frames or locks on them for safety.
- 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 30–45,000 visitors a day, which swells to around three lakh (i.e. three hundred thousand) on amavasya (the no moon day), believed to be the most auspicious day to appease Shani.
- According to a 400-year tradition, women are restricted from entering the inner sanctum. On 26 January 2016, a group of over 500 women, led by activist Trupti Desai, marched to the temple under the group “Bhumata Ranragani Brigade”, demanding entry into the Inner sanctum. They were stopped by the police.
- In a landmark judgement on 30 March 2016, the Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra government to ensure that women are not denied entry to any temple. On 8 April 2016, the Shani Shingnapur trust finally allowed the women devotees to enter the sanctum.
Timings of Shani Shingnapur Temple
The temple remains open 24 hours a day throughout the whole week.
Festivals at Shani Shingnapur Temple
- Shri Shaneshchar Jayanti, the special day of God Shani’s birthday, is celebrated with great gusto and devotion.
- From ‘Chaitra Shuddha Dashami’ to ‘Chaitrya Vadya Pratipada’, continuously, the chanting of God’s name and ‘Granthraj Dnyaneshwari Parayan’ is being performed.
- From 1991, on Aashadi Ekadashi of every year, from Shanishingnapur to Pandarpur, Shaneshwar Palki is taken on foot with great fanfare. In this, all the trustees and devotees participate.
- Similarly, from 1991, during Ekanaathi Shashti of every year, all the trustees and devotees participate in taking Shaneshwar Palki on foot, with great fanfare, from Shanishingnapur to Paithan.
How to reach Shani Shingnapur Temple
- By air: The nearest International Airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, which is four and a half hour drive from Shirdi. Flights to major Indian cities like, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur connect to the location and can be availed on a regular basis.
- By rail: One can travel from any corner of India to Shani Shingnapur. For this, the suggested railway stations are Ahmednagar, Rahuri, Shrirampur and Belapur. From these railway destinations, there are S.T. buses, Jeeps, Taxis etc. facilities to Shani Shingnapur.
- By road: one can utilize the State Transport Bus services, taxis, bus services. Shingnapur is a village situated at a distance of 6 kms from Ghodegaon on Aurangabad Ahmednagar road in Maharashtra. It is 84 Kms from Aurangabad and 35kms from Ahmednagar.
Hotels nearby Shani Shingnapur Temple
- Daiwik Hotel, Shirdi near Pimplewadi road is a notable place to check in. It offers great dining experience and is reviewed to be a nice accommodating place.
- The Temple View Hotel at Nagar Mnamad road is at close proximity to the temple. Travellers often checks in for its convenient location and well suited accomdation.
Places to visit near Shani Shingnapur Temple
- At around 70 km from Shani Shinganapur, Shirdi is situated which is the famous place of Shri Sai Baba. Saibaba has spent most of him life in Shirdi Village. Millions of visitors daily visit Shirdi temple to take blessings from Sai Baba.
- The Ajanta and Ellora caves are considered as the greatest historical monument in the Maharashtra, India; which are located at about 79 km southwest from Shinganapur.
- 143 km from the Shani Shinganapur, Nashik city is positioned and is famous for its religious culture. There are many places to see in the Nashik city; some of which include Muktidham, Pandavleni Caves, Sula Vineyards, Kalaram Temple, Naroshankar Temple, Sundarnarayan Temple, Shri Kailas Math etc.