Situated in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Shani Shingnapur is where the 5 ft. tall, black shrine of Shani Dev sits, on a roofless platform, and is a famous pilgrimage site for Hindus. On my visit to Pune and Panchgani, Shirdi was one place I had decided to visit and offer prayers on a Thursday, and this little village happened to be just on my way.
The village, Shani Shignapur was easily distinguishable, mainly because of the red flags, marigold garlands, and every regular thing that every pilgrimage site has. But to my surprise I started to notice that no house had a single door attached to itself. The case was the same from small houses to the decent flats and apartments. Just another house with no door, just a door frame!
The houses had no doors, just door frames, for entrance. In a world that we are living in, it was hard for me to believe that they actually had no security to themselves or their property. Inquisitive that I have always been, I grabbed the opportunity of inquiring a vendor, while purchasing the prasadam.
And he tells me, "No house in this village has doors, leave alone the question of locks. This village is home to around 4,000 people, and we all live with mutual trust. We are honest and we have immense faith in Shani Dev. The Lord will punish anyone who attempts theft. Even the bank in our village is lock-less. You are in that part of India where the crime rate is near-zero!"
I was filled with amazement and pride both. I walked away in utter disbelief only to research about it later and find another similar story on the internet:
“We believe that if a person steals anything, or does anything dishonest, he faces a Sade Saati (a period of seven-and-a-half years of bad luck). Something bad happens in the family — court cases, accidents, deaths, losses in business. My cousin had once installed wooden panes at the entrance of his house. His car met with an accident the very next day. Shani’s power is indisputable and he watches over this village. Otherwise, why would people come here from all over the world?” As told to The Indian Express, by one of the residents.UCO Bank with sliding doors, but no security and no locks!
Note: Although in recent years the village has seen trivial cases of thefts, some of the residents from the outskirts of the village have proposed installing doors in their houses from the fear of dacoits. Still, the legend and the door-less homes in this religious and full-of-faith continue to inspire so many of us.