I’m back with another travel blog post. This time, I want to share with you my experience of visiting Shani Mandir at Shingnapur. Shani Mandir is a temple dedicated to Lord Shani, the Hindu god of justice and karma. It is located in the village of Shringnapur in Maharashtra, India.
Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft is reported in the village. Villagers never keep their valuables under lock and key. Villagers believe that the temple is a “jagrut devasthan” (lit. “alive temple”), meaning that the god here is very powerful. They believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft. Such strong is the faith that there has not yet been an incident of theft as told by the local people. Also, a Kolkata based nationalized bank – UCO Bank has opened a branch here with no locks!
About 350 years ago, there was heavy rain in this area, and in the rainwater this huge black slab (5 1/2 feet high and 1 1/2 feet wide) came floating. As the water flowed, the stone got stuck in the roots of a large berry tree. Once the water drained, some cattle grazers saw the stone, when they tried to dislodge it from the roots by prodding the stone, blood started oozing from it. The shocked cattle grazers ran away. That night Shanidev appeared in the dream of a villager and told him that he had decided to stay in that form in Shingnapur and that he could only be lifted out by those who were uncle and nephew in relation and carried in a bullock cart with black bullocks. When the villagers tried to get the stone idol out, they could not carry it any further and so decided to install it, where it stood.
My mother and I visited Shani Mandir on our way to Shirdi, which is considered auspicious for Lord Shani. The temple is very simple and modest, with a black stone idol of Lord Shani in the sanctum sanctorum. The idol is adorned with flowers, oil lamps and a gold crown. The idol is believed to be self-manifested and very powerful.
The temple attracts thousands of devotees every day, especially those who are facing problems in their lives due to the influence of Saturn (Shani) in their horoscope. People come here to seek blessings, forgiveness and relief from Lord Shani. They also perform various rituals such as offering oil, black cloth, black sesame seeds, black gram and iron nails to Lord Shani. Some people also shave their heads or donate their hair as a sign of devotion.
The atmosphere at the temple is very serene and peaceful. You can feel the positive energy and vibrations of Lord Shani. The temple staff and volunteers are very helpful and courteous. They guide you through the rituals and explain the significance of each offering. They also provide free meals to all the visitors.
We spent about two hours at the temple and felt very calm and relaxed. I think visiting Shani Mandir was a very enriching and rewarding experience for me. Thank you for reading my blog post. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any comments, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you.