Shani Shingnapur is a remote village located 50 km off Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. It is home to nearly 3,500 people, young and old, and hosts a few hundred thousand tourists every week. For all these visitors, the appeal lies in the temple of Lord Shani, described in Hindu mythology as ‘the son of the sun’, and in the peculiarity of the village known for having no doors or locks to houses because there can be no robbery here. For the residents, this practice is the result of the faith they invest in their deity. Shani, they say, acts as the nucleus of the village, an absorbent of all evil.
Faith Built Village With No Doors And No Crime
Shani Shingnapur is located in the state of Maharashtra, one of India’s states with the highest rate of crime. Shani Shingnapur is an Indian village without doors. There are about 300 buildings in it, including schools and shops, and none of them have door, any locks or padlocks. The whole village is protected by God and that believe really works, because in this place is not happening any crimes.
“How much time does it take to loot this village?”
I am stumped, unsure if the question is posed as rhetoric. Sayaram Bankar, a resident of Shani Shingnapur and a trustee with the temple that his birthplace is famous for, isn’t too inclined to wait for me as I gather my wits.
“It takes all of 10 minutes,” he declares grandly.
Talk to locals and you will be told that robbery is impossible here. They are a hospitable lot, ever ready to allow for photographs and share anecdotes to back up their claims. Riveting as they are, these stories often borrow from second-hand experiences and folklore. But all of them end with the same bottom-line: ‘Dare you stray, Shani will make you pay.’
The village : Shingnapur
Primarily, almost all people here in this village (shingnapur) are descendants of Maharaja Chatrapati Shivaji and they are normally known by the names of Darandale, Bankar, Shete and Borrude. People by other names and castes are very few. The village (shingnapur) itself is small but famous for its name. Houses without doors and windows in the village (singnapur) and the fields are many. The people of these four families have become relatives by marriages among the children in their families.
This village (singnapur) adores and celebrates many ancient customs, rituals and festivals with gusto and happiness. Since there are good roads, a lot of people come and go from here by buses, cars and autorichshaws. The people of this village are not victims of bad habits. There are no signs of liquor, gambling and non-vegetarianism. By the grace of God Shani, the people here are God fearing, religious, honest and trustworthy. Here, not once has a theft occurred. The homes here have no doors and windows. Therefore, the windows of their minds are always open. They are very hospitable to guests.
In this village (shingnapur) of saints, God Shani is the lord and God of everybody and every thing.It is believed here that one reaps one sows and one gets the fruit of one’s actions immediately. Some of the things that are almost not at all used here are windows, door stoppers, chains, suitcases, latches, locks and the like. Because, it is believed here that it is the wish of God Shani himself that locks should not be used. Because the people believe that the protection of their homes and the village is rested with God Shani. They believe that God Shani himself says, “ You live with total peace of mind all day inside your house and outside. Nothing bad will happen to you. I’ll protect you and your homes.”
It is on the advice of God Shani that doors, windows and locks are not used here. As a result, this village is viewed differently by different people, worldwide. However, elsewhere there is so much of theft in the world. There are locks on locks used. Yet thieves continues with theft. And nobody is happy. But in Shanishingnapur, since many years homes have no doors and locks and are kept open all day and night. Yet not a single thief has committed a theft. Generations in this village have witnessed this for years.