The residents believe the Hindu God Shani will punish anyone attempting to steal.

In today’s date when crime rates are soaring and people put multiple locks on their doors and secure them with alarm systems, there is a town in western India called Shani Shingnapur, where the inhabitants do not even have entry doors to their houses. No doors, no locks is the policy of this village. Why? You might ask. The reason relates to an age old legend about the Hindu God Shani, and that his very presence in the town temple restricts any thieving and incidents of robbery, keeping the town crime-free.

The people of the town believe that if anybody does commit a crime, that person will be severely punished by God Shani. The town people thus live free of worries of getting robbed. They say by putting up doors in their homes, they might be questioning the power of the God and instead attract his wrath. Businessmen and traders too, many a time, leave their earnings in the store drawer, unlocked. The women in the house secure their wedding jewelry at some corner of the house but without any lock on them. The one bank that the town has is secured by a Plexiglas main door which remains unlocked. It is only the safety deposit box that remains locked in the entire bank.

The origin of the legend

The temple of God Shani is visited by many tourists from far and wide. The story behind the legend is an interesting one. Hundreds of years ago, a river that ran through the village brought to shore a 5-foot-tall solid block of black stone. Upon tapping the surface, the stone started oozing blood. This incident scared the villagers who did not dare to move the stone block from the site. Then one night, a farmer saw the stone in his dream, identifying itself as the God Shani, who is associated to the planet Saturn. The apparition told the farmer that he wanted to stay there in the village.

The next day, the farmer, along with some other men, carried the stone to dry land, where they tried to construct a temple around it. However, mysteriously there were too many accidents of walls collapsing and construction workers getting hurt that made them realize that the deity did not want to be established under a roof. Hence, they built a platform and heaved the stone slab on it where it still stands. Taking a cue from the incidents, the villagers did away with the doors of their homes and the tradition still continues. The new generation however is more inquisitive of matters and wants to ensure safety anyways and some of them are putting up sliding doors instead of the curtains that generally served as a door.

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