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Shani Shingnapur Temple – Unique Shrine, Legends, and More!

Shani Shingnapur Temple in Maharashtra

The Temple Shani Shingnapur gets its name from Shingnapur village. The simple village is located in the Nevasa Taluka in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. Ahmednagar city is 35 km away. The main deity, Lord Shani, is the personified form of Graha or Planet Saturn. He is feared as well as respected.

Lord Shani temple in Maharashtra
Lord Shani is in the form of a rock

Thousands of devotees visit the temple from all over the country. Shani Shingnapur Temple is believed to offer solace to those suffering from ‘Saade Saathi’, an astrological phase referred to the transit of Shani in one’s life. It is said to last for seven and a half years. The period is believed to be replete with difficulties in a person’s life.

The Unique Shrine Of Shingnapur

Most of Hindu temples have a special enclosure for the sanctum sanctorum. Rarely are idols without a roof. In that respect, Shani Dev Temple Shani Shingnapur Maharashtra is unique. The deity isn’t housed inside the temple. More importantly, even the idol is unlike any you may have seen anywhere else. Lord Shani is in the form of a five and a half feet high black rock.

The idol is installed on a raised platform in an open space. Steel railings surround the platform. There is a trishul or trident on one side. Small idols of Lord Shiva and Lord Hanuman are in front.

What Makes Shani Shingnapur Temple Unique?

shani shingnapur temple structure
A view of the temple structure

Till recently, devotees could perform abhishek to the deity. It is a ritual in which the idol is bathed in water, oil and flowers. The devotees had to take a head bath in the temple premises and had to do the poojas in wet clothes. Only male devotees could enter the sanctum. 

In the year 2016, following the protest of women activists, the Bombay High Court gave a landmark judgement allowing women to enter the sanctum. Though for a few days women were allowed, the Shani Shingnapur Temple authorities then took a decision not to allow anyone, male or female to enter the sanctum.

Entrance to Shanishingnapur village
The entrance gate to Shanishingnapur village

The Captivating Legend Of Shani Shingnapur Temple

The idol is a ‘Swayambhu’ or one which has manifested on its own. The Shani Shingnapur Temple Story is quite popular. Some shepherds came upon the black stone in a forest. When they poked the stone with a rod, blood oozed out.

The same night, one of the shepherds saw the Lord himself in his dream. The Lord said he was Shaneeshwara and that the idol was one of his forms.

The shepherd asked if they should build a temple to house the idol. To which the Lord instructed that the idol should be kept in the open as he regarded the whole sky as the roof. Thus, the deity stands under an open sky and is never covered.

The Enthralling Facts Of The Temple

Lord Shani protects the village. The houses and other establishments do not have doors or locks. The villagers believe that no theft can take place in the village homes fearing the Lord’s punishment. Even banks do not have security.

The idol at the temple
A closer view of the idol

Shani Shingnapur Temple is a ‘jagrut devasthan’ or a live temple. It means the deity still resides in the idol.

Travel Info

You can travel to Shingnapur from Pune, Mumbai, Ahmednagar or Aurangabad. Aurangabad is the nearest domestic airport at 90 km. Pune airport is at a distance of 161 km. Mumbai airport is around 32 km. You can take a taxi or buses to Shingnapur.

You can reach Shingnapur from many railway stations including Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Pune or Shrirampur. Then, take taxis, jeeps or state transport buses to the temple.

Devotees are not allowed to touch the idol
Devotees stand across the railing around the idol

The best road routes are Aurangabad-Ahmednagar NH 60-Ghodegaon. Another popular route is Pune-Ahmednagar-Ghodegaon. Shani Shingnapur Temple lies 5 km from Ghodegaon. Local vehicles will take you to the temple.

Accommodation Facilities

There aren’t many staying facilities at Shingnapur. Visitors usually stay at Shirdi, Ahmednagar or Aurangabad. You can also find comfortable staying facilities at Hotel Aurus, Hotel Sanket, Yash Grand, among others. All these hotels are in Ahmednagar.  

Best Time To Visit

The temple is open throughout the year. Shani Shingnapur Temple Timings are from 12 am to 12 am. The best day to visit is Saturday because it is Lord Shani’s special day. The temple finds a huge rush of devotees on this day. In addition, temple festivals are also a great time to visit. For instance, festivals such as Shani Thravadashi, Shani Amavasya, Gudi Padwa, and Shri Shaneshwar Jayanti are popular. The exact dates are found in the Hindu Calendar.

The well inside the temple
The well used for poojas inside the temple

Best Places to Visit Near Shani Shingnapur Temple

The most popular place near the Shani Shingnapur Temple is the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple at a distance of 70 km. Generally, devotees visit Shingnapur after offering prayers at the Sai temple. As Shingnapur does not have many hotels, most stay at Shirdi.

You can also visit one of the Ashtavinayaka temples and an ancient Shiva temple in neighbouring Ranjangaon.

Other Nearby Places To Visit

Also, enjoy the delicious sugarcane juice extracted using traditional methods on the way to the temple.

A deity, all powerful, and without any ego, Lord Shani is a protector. To be just around the exceptional deity is a special feeling. Be it for spiritual salvation or to experience the uniqueness, you will cherish your trip forever. The Shani Shingnapur temple’s atmosphere will tempt you to visit again, for sure.