Another important Shrine for Lord Shani is in Maharashtra, India. Shingnapur is located half-way between Shirdi and Aurangabad. The deity here is “Swayambhu” that is self emerged from earth in form of Black but imposing stone. Though no one knows exact period, it is believed that Swayumbhu shaneeswara was found from time immemorial by shepherds of then local hamlet. It is believed be in existence at least since Kaliyugam.
The story of swayambhu (=Sanskrit self-evolved deity) handed down from generations through word of mouth, goes something like this : When the Shepherd touched stone with a pointed rod the stone began bleeding. The shepherds were astounded soon whole village hamlet gathered around to watch the miracle. On that night Lord Shaneeswara appeared in the dream of most devoted and pious of the shepherds.
He told the shepherd that he is “Shaneeswara”. He also told that the Unique looking Black Stone is His swayambhu form. The shepherd prayed and asked Lord whether he should construct a temple for him. To this, Lord Shani Mahatma said there is no need for a roof as the whole sky is his roof and he preferred to be under open sky. He asked the shephered to do daily pooja and ‘tailabhishekam’ every Saturday without fail. He also promised the whole hamlet will have no fear of dacoits or burglars or thieves.
So, Lord Shaneeswara can be seen even today, in the open yard without any roof above. To this day, there are no doors for any house, shop, temple. It is to be seen to believe that even post office has no door, not to speak of locks. Due to fear of Lord Shani, none of the structures, be it dwelling houses, huts, shops etc. situated within one kilometer radius of this Lord Shani temple, have neither doors and locks. No thievery or burglary ever occurred here in this hamlet called Shani Shingnapur. Some who have tried to steal have died vomiting blood within minutes of their act and before they could cross the boundary. Many others are said have received varied punishments such as long sickness, mental imbalance etc.
This Shani Shingnapur is visited daily by thousands of devotees praying for Lord Shaneswara’s favour. The place is busiest on Saturdays. Shani Trayodasi is considered to be a favorite day for the lord. Similarly Saturday falling on ‘Amavasya’(new moon day in Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam) is considered to be a favorites day for the Lord Shaneeswara. Thousands of devotees seeking his blessings throng this temple in thousands.