India is a country with a mixture of rich culture and religion. Each and every part of country has a different language, religion and way of living. But still they make one beautiful country full of faith and unity and that is the flavor of India. The biggest strength of every Indian lies in their faith in god. The god here has different names but the power is same that gives every Indian the reason to be hopeful for a good life in spite of all odds. One such example of faith is Shani Shignapur, a place proving God’s presence not only in the heart of people but in the village as well.
Spread over an area of 82.36 km2 Shani Shignapur or Sonai is a small village situated in Nevasa taluka of Ahmadnagar district in the state of Maharashtra. As the name suggests this place is well known for the Hindu God Shani of Saturn planet. This place is quite different from other small villages not only in the state but in the entire country because there are no doors at any of the house in this village. All homes have door frames but no doors, they do not keep their valuables in the lockers. You must be surprised to know this but it is actually true and the reason behind this is the faith and devotion of people towards God Shani who they say is protects them from thieves and evils. No theft is ever reported from this village in years. It is said that this place of God is Jagrat devasthan and no one can make any theft here and if anyone tries to do so he will punished hard by the Shani God or may turn blind. It is believed that God is watching everyone here and that is why no one can commit any crime in this holy place of God.
The more surprising fact about this village is that in the year 2011 a bank named United Commercial Bank opened its branch here but followed the same rule of village. This UCO bank has no locks to secure its cash or valuables as opposite to any other bank in the country. It seems unbelievable to see the strong faith of villagers in god and the presence of god is felt here when you visit the shrine of god Shani here. Unlike other religious places you will not find any big attractive temple of God here. There is a five and a half feet long black stone perceived as God Shani with a trident standing on a flat platform. Idols of Shiva and Hanuman are also there. At one side of God Shani you can notice the image of Nandi Bull. This place may not be huge but very distinctive and devotees come from far away states to get the glimpse of god Shani here. Around 3o to 40 thousand devotees come here every day to worship the god of Saturn. On the occasion of Amavsya (New Moon) this count goes in lacs as during this time a fair is organized by the villagers to pay respect to the deity Shani Dev.
It is a must visit place for everyone to know the magical power of faith in God and live example of God’s blessings in the unique way. It is an amazing feeling to visit this tiny village with zero crime rates in the modern world. Other attractions here include the Dattatraya temple and a tomb of Sant Udasi baba. This place is just 35 kilometers from Ahmadnagar district and can be reached easily by road. Another very well known religious shrine Called Shirdi is just 65 kilometers from here. Pune is 160 kilometers away from Shani Shignapur.