Picture this You're walking on the streets of a village lined with houses. Pretty normal, right Except, the houses themselves are odd because they have no doors. Nestled in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Shani Shingnapur is where houses have no doors. There are frames intact but no other sign of a door's existence. Visitors can come and go as they please, which is the village's custom. Shani Shingnapur draws about 40,000 devotees every year because of its literal open door, or rather, no door policy and the story behind its bizarre past.
Unfolding the past
According to the village folklore, some 400 years ago, when a heavy black rock rolled down on the riverfront of the Panasnala, a local shepherd jabbed it with a sharp rod. It is believed that the shepherd saw blood gushing out of the inanimate rock, following which Lord Shani appeared in his dream at night. In his dream, the deity asked to be placed in an open space so that he could guard the village, promising to look after the security of every house.
Soon after, with the blessings of Lord Shiva, the residents here established the holy site on a roofless yard with his totem. The doors of each house were removed as the locals here put their faith in God and the fact that his powers would protect them nonetheless.
The current paradigm
To date, none of the living spaces here has a door. People are used to leaving their homes freely without any worries. As a result of its bizarre past, Shani Shingnapur draws a large crowd from all around the nation. With the follower offerings, the shrine has now developed into a fairly big temple spread across a large property.
The village's local shops and the post office also lack doors. The first lockless branch to operate in India was established by the UCO bank in Shani Shingnapur in 2011. However, the bank has a glass entrance and a barely visible remote-controlled electromagnetic lock to maintain safety while respecting the sentiments of the people here. A no-door police station has also had been opened here, with the honour that the crime rate record in Shani Shingnapur is close to none.
Even surprisingly, there have been no reported cases of major theft in the village in decades. A few cases of theft were reported here and there but they do not seem legit enough for the villagers to raise a thought against the ages-old faith they hold.
How to reach
If you plan to visit Shani Shingnapur, you can reach there via road, air or train. The place is easily accessible through the Aurangabad-Ahmednagar road. The nearest railway stations to Shani Shingnapur are Rahuri (32 kilometres) and Ahmednagar (35 kilometres). The nearest airport to the destination is Aurangabad airport, some 90 kilometres away.