Shani Shinganapur Sani temple
(By my good fortune I visited this great temple on 21-2-2018)
Sanaischara (Wrongly called as Saneeswara) is the slowest moving planet and takes two and a half years to cross one Rasi. People worship the planet so that the problems in their life when Lord Sani is travelling through certain Rasis does not affect them. There are no temples for Sani BHagwan in Kerala . In Tamil Nadu the most important is Thirunallar, where Lord Sani has a sub temple dedicated to him in a famous Shiva temple there.However in Karnataka there are several individual temples dedicated to Lord Sani. So is the case with Maharashtra and among them the most important is the Sani temple located in SAni Shinganapur. This temple attracts millions of devotees every year. The story of the temple is extremely interesting.
Sani Shinganapur was a small village mainly inhabited by Marathas who are descendents of king Shivaji, The village is also called Sani shingnapur or Shingnapur or Sonal.About 350 years ago this village had only 20-30 huts. At that time there was a flood in the river Panasnala ,It seems the pillar like idol of Lord Sani floated in the river and got settled in the village.Next day the cattle grazers saw a new black stone and they poked the stone with their stick. It seems blood came out of the stone(the scar can be even seen today) ,They informed the villagers who came abnd inspected it and were puzzled. That night, in a devotees dream that stone came and told him that he was Shani dev, who commanded him to move him from that spot to inside the village..Next day though all the villagers jointly tried they were not able to move the idol.Next day it seems God came and told them that he can be lifted only by any person of the village along with his maternal uncle and that he can be dragged only by black bulls. They were not able to fulfil this condition and decided to worship God Sani in that place itself..They tried to build a quadrangular platform but they were not able to lift or unearth the idol and so built a three feet platform around the idol, which is in the form of a black pillar. God Sani instructed his devotees through dream that he would like the sky to be his roof.He also told them that he would look after the security of the entire village and instructed them not to have any door or any lock .All these years the villagers have been following this , It seems a few minor theft have taken place but God has punished those thieves and they have returned the stolen articles themselves.
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.Till a few month back males after bath wearing wet cloths were allowed to climb the platform and do Abhisheka with oil. Due to recent judgement of the Mumbai high court this practice has been stopped. The men and women are allowed to climb on the platform and see the idol.
Saturdays and Amvasya(new moon) days are special days in the temple. ShriShaneshchar Jayanti, the special day of God Shani’s birthday, is celebrated with great gusto and devotion.
Every year, from ‘Chaitra Shuddha Dashami’ to ‘Chaitrya Vadya Pratipada’, continuously, the chanting of God’s name and ‘Granthraj Dnyaneshwari Parayan’ is being performed. During this period, everyday, prayers are performed as follows
a) Early in the morning from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. ‘Kakada Aart’.
b) 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. ‘Vishnu Sahastra naam’.
c) 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. ‘Dnyaneshwari Vaachan’.
d) 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. ‘Sangeet Bhajan’.
e) 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ‘Pravachan’
f) 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. ‘ Haripaatha’ and
g) 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ‘Hari Keertan’ and ‘Jaagar’.
It would be interesting to know that UCO bank has opened a branch with always doors in the village. Another fact is that there is a police station in the village , where so far no crimes have been reported.
Yet another interesting fact is that there was a neem tree near the idol, whose branches got automatically broken when their shade falls on the God. Recently this neem tree was cut and a banyan tree is growing in its place . The famous sloka praising Lord Sani viz
Neelanjanasamaabhasam Ravi Putram Yamaagrajam
Chaaya Marthanda Sambhootam Tam Namaami Shanaiswaram
My salutations to God Saturn,
Who is the colour of blue- black,
Who is the son of Sun God,
Who is the elder brother of Yama,
And who is the offspring of Sun God and his wife Chaya .
Is continuously chanted in the temple.
All villages round the temple grow sugarcane and the local; people use bullocks to extract juice from the sugarcane ,This process is called Rasawanthy .
Transport: A large number of tourist vehicles ply to the Shani Shingnapur from all cities in the Maharashtra. State Transport (ST) buses are the best options to reach here.
Shani Shingnapur temple is 35 kms away from Ahmadnagar, 160 kms away from Pune, 84 kms from Aurangabad and 295 kms from Mumbai. It’s a 7 hours drive from Mumbai.
Nearest Railway Station: Ahmednagar Railway Station is the convenient railway station to reach Shani Shingnapur town. The station is 35 kms away from the town.
Nearest Airport: Aurangabad (90 kms) & Pune (160 kms) are the closest airports to Shani Shingnapur. Taxi’s & other vehicles on hired are available outside the airport.
Telephone: 02427- 238110.
Official Website:is shanishinganapur dot com
Temple Timings: Devotees can visit Shani Shingnapur temple 24 x 7; all days of the week 12:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Please see a video about the temple https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16F2RvMrNRs