Ahmednagar: Maharashtra's Shani Shingnapur made the headlines on Tuesday as hundreds of women activists who were on their way to the temple - to protest the entry ban inside the shrine's inner sanctum - were stopped by the security officials at Supa village in the state.
Here are five things you may not know about the temple and the village it is situated in:-
Shani Shingnapur village
1) - Shani Shingnapur is the name of a village in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra; the village is known for its popular temple of Lord Shani - Shri Shaneshwar Devasthan Shanishingnapur - the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn.
A village where houses do not have doors, locks
2)- Shani Shingnapur is globally known as the only village where houses do not have doors and locks, and the village remains theft-free. Even the nationalised UCO Bank's branch in the village does not have locks on its doors. Belief has it that thieves cannot steal or burgle in the village which is protected by Lord Shani, and misfortune and divine punishment would befall anyone who attempts to steal.
Temple sans walls or roof
3) - The unique open temple has no walls or roof; a self-emerged (svayambhu) five-foot-high black stone stands on a platform and is worshipped as Lord Shanidev.
World-famous Shanidev temple
4) - The temple platform stands in the centre of the village, also known as Sonai and attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad.
Women not allowed
5) - Women devotees are not allowed to worship at this temple. The Shani Shignapur temple follows an old practice of not allowing women to enter the core shrine area claiming women to be impure. It is an ancient tradition that women are debarred from climbing up the temple steps to pour oil and offer prayers to Shanidev.