Shani Shingnapur (Shani Shinganapur / Shingnapu / Sonai) is a village situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. The village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god of the planet Saturn (graha). Shingnapur is 35 km from Ahmednagar city.
Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft was reported in the village until 2010 when cash and items worth Rs. 35000/- were stolen for a vehicle, and again in 2011 when Rs. 50000/-, gold rings, mobile phone, etc. was stolen from the home of a retired official of the Shree Shanaishwar Deosthan Trust itself! Still some 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. The deity here is "Swayambhu" (Sanskrit: self-evolved deity) that is self emerged from earth in form of black but imposing stone. Though no one knows the exact period, it is believed that the Swayambhu Shanaishwara statue was found from times immemorial by shepherds of the then local hamlet. It is believed to be in existence at least since Kali yuga. Though there has been reports of thefts in Oct 2010 and Feb 2011.
The village has a post office and a high school known as Shri Shanishwar Vidya Mandir besides the primary schools run by the Zilla Parishad. The chief source of water supply in the villages is wells.
In January 2011, the United Commercial (UCO) Bank opened a 'lockless' branch in the village, the first of its kind in the country, taking note of the near-zero crime rate in the region. The local police were reported to be unhappy over this development and that it amounted to a breach of conditions, because the Central government of India has made it mandatory for all banks to have high security.The bank has doors,but they will always remain open. However, it was reported by the local legislator and the bank officials that adequate precautions were being taken for the safety of lockers and important documents.
Shrine of Shani
The shrine for Shani consists of a five and a half feet high black rock installed on an open-air platform, which symbolizes the god Shani. A Trishula (trident) is placed along the side of the image and a Nandi (bull) image is on the south side. In front are the small images of Shiva and Hanuman.
Generally, the temple has 30-45000 visitors a day, which swells to around three lakh (i.e. three hundred thousand) on amavasya (the new moon day), believed to be the most auspicious day to appease Lord Shani. The village holds a fair in honour of the deity on this day. A bigger festival is held on new moon days that fall on Saturdays. Devotees bathe Lord Shani's image with water and oil and offer flowers, and udid to him. A palanquin procession of Shani is held on the day of the fair. Other festivals include the birthday of Shani, Shani Jayanti.
The shrine gained popularity with the decade-old film Surya Putra Shanidev made by the film producer Late Gulshan Kumar.