The spectacular and unique Shani Shignapur Temple of Ahmednagar district is well-known for the magical and powerful Lord Shani, who is believed to reside in a black stone till date. The Hindu God symbolising the planet Saturn is referred to as Swayambhu, which means that he has emerged himself in the form of the black stone. It has absolutely no architectural beauty, and just the simple stone with the spiritual aura of the lord entices scores of devotees every year.
It is believed that many years ago, a shepherd touched the black stone with a pointed rod after which it started bleeding. This astonished the entire village. Later, on the same night, one of the most devoted shepherds saw Lord Shanaishwar in his dream in which he told him that the black stone is his Swayambhu form. The shepherd worshipped the Lord and asked if he should build a temple for him. However, the Lord refused since the colossal sky is the roof for him. Instead, Shanaishwar asked him to perform pooja daily and 'Tailabhisheka' every Saturday. He also ensured that the village would not suffer any loss from thievery and loot.
Therefore, Lord Shanaishwar is placed in an open yard even today. Surprisingly, no incidents of burglary have been reported even though the houses have no locks and doors. In 2010 and 2011, some people tried to steal but, it is said they died within minutes of committing the crime.
The Shani Shignapur Temple has no roofs, doors or walls around. It only has a five and a half feet high black stone, symbolising Lord Shani, placed on a platform. The idol is placed under the open sky, and this makes the temple unique as compared to others. On the idol of Lord Shani, mustard oil is poured continuously from a copper vessel which hangs just above the idol. There is also images of Nandi, Hanuman and Shiva besides Lord Shani.
It is quite strange that women were not allowed to enter the temple for more than 400 years. 8 April 2016 marked the watershed moment in the history of India when the temple finally opened its gates for women after they protested furiously against the tradition.
Prasadalaya or canteen managed by Shri Shaneshwar Devasthan Trust is located near the temple. It offers hygienic food to the visitors. Coupons are available at reasonable prices and more than thousand people can dine together in the canteen.
Generally, devotees can perform poojas and Abhishekams on any day. But, there are some days which are considered very auspicious.
1. Shani Amavasya- It is also called as a new moon day and is observed as the favourite day of Lord Shanaishwar. Thousands of devotees throng the temple to worship the Lord. The deity is bathed in water, oil and flowers. A procession of Shanaishwar is also carried out.
2. Shri Shaneshchar Jayanti- On this day, the birthday of Lord Shani is celebrated with great pomp and gusto. This festival is celebrated in May.
Besides, Saturdays are considered to be auspicious as compared to other days.
September to November provide the best opportunity to visit the Shani Shignaour Temple. The weather is pleasant and mild since winters are just approaching the town. Summers are avoided by tourists as the mercury dwells to 40 degrees Celcius. In monsoons, the rainfall disturbs the outdoor activities.
Shani Shignapur is located at a distance of around 70 Km from Shirdi. One can easily travel from Shirdi to the temple via private cars or taxi. However, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation(MSRTC) also provides regular buses between these two towns. The nearest railway stations to Shani Shignapur Temple are in Rahuri, Ahmednagar, Shrirampur and Shirdi Railway Station. The nearest airport is Aurangabad airport located 90 Km away from Shani Shignapur. Travelers also prefer to travel from Nashik city which is situated at a distance of 144 Km from the temple.
When it comes to local transport, you can easily hire autorickshaws to get around the town. Ola or Uber cabs are not available. At a distance of around 140 metres, there is enough space available for parking your vehicles.
3 months ago by Nayananshu Nath
Nothing to see there.. Business going bigger then the god.
3 months ago by Punit Goswami
Earlier the guard used to manage the crowd greatly but now the guards are not putting any attention talking to each other otherwise the temple is good. Beware of clever shopkeepers and beggars.
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