A Trip to Shani Shingnapur – the Famous Village with No Doors
It isn’t necessary to have a reason to want to visit a temple. You don’t need a reason to worship God. All you need is the desire to revere to a higher power. Sometimes there’s a calling, sometimes you have to take this call yourself.
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One day, out of nowhere, in the middle of my daily schedule, I suddenly felt that desire within me. I needed a break from my busy city life and go devote myself to God. So, I packed my bag and booked a Mumbai to Shirdi car rental with a driver, and off I went to Shani Shingnapur!
The village of Shani Shingapur is approximately 74 kilometres, that is 2 hours from Shirdi. On the way, when I took a peek out of the window, all I could see were sugarcane farms.
This piqued my interest. My enthusiasm grew even more when I finally arrived at the Shani Shingnapur village. It was a typical village by all means – small houses, ethnically dressed people, greenery, boiling sun and humidity at its peak.
But one thing I did not see coming was that there were no doors. That’s right, absolutely no doors on any of the houses. There wasn’t one attached to the bank either. I was dumbfounded but also intrigued.
Apparently, over 300 years ago, an iron and stone slab washed up in a nearby river during a massive flood. Upon poking it with a stick, the slab began exuding blood.
That same night, a villager had quite a dream. He dreamt of the presence of Lord Shani himself, who told him that the slab was his manifestation. He asked him that no villager should put doors to their houses from here on out as he would protect them from any ill-will or danger.
Even more surprising is that the villagers reported that no theft has ever been perpetrated in their village. The place is as safe as can be. Who’s to say whether it is due to Lord Shani looking after the village or because of the threat of seven years of bad luck? It will always stand a mystery!
The temple is open every single day of the week between 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. It wasn’t crowded at all despite its popularity. The temple was small and gave a homely feeling. It was a pleasant experience to sit down inside the temple and collect all my thoughts.
In Mumbai, you rarely ever get the chance to just sit all by yourself and let go of everything else. It was a pleasant change of space. For once, I knew, it was a calling, away from all the hustle-bustle into peace and quiet.
Pro tip: Do not entertain the shopkeepers standing outside the temple. They’ll try to convince you that you need to buy certain items to enter the temple. This is absolutely not true, so don’t fall for it. You can purchase whatever you wish, but none of it is compulsory. You can go inside empty-handed and still be allowed to worship.
I wandered around the village for a bit, breathed freely in the pollution-free air and had a conversation with a few locals. The day was approaching an end, and it was time for me to bid adieu to this village. I booked a Mumbai taxi with a local driver and slept comfortably on the way.
When I reached home, I looked at all the photos I took and relieved these memories. It will always be my safe space to worship and be.