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Women's group threatens to land on Shani temple in chopper

247 Days ago

Ahmednagar (Maharashtra): A women's organisation has threatened to storm the famous Shani Shingnapur Temple here -- if need be, from the sky route even via a helicopter -- when its sanctum sanctorum opens on Tuesday, said an activist here.

Security has been strengthened at the temple which is barred for women devotees. However, the activists remained undeterred in their avowed objective -- to offer prayers at the Shani temple

"We have already booked a helicopter and if we are not permitted to enter from the open ground, we shall drop ladders from the chopper and climb down. We are not scared of any security since women's rights are concerned," an aggressive Trupti Desai, president of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade told IANS on Monday.

She said around 1,500 women from all over Maharashtra shall troop down to the temple on Tuesday morning and offer prayers at the temple which is dedicated to Lord Shani -- the personification of planet Saturn -- and where women devotees are not permitted.

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.

The temple platform stands in the centre of the small village, also known as Sonai and attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad.

However, barring the temple priests, none is permitted to climb the nine steps up to the actual stone idol that represents the deity. Everybody must only offer prayers from below the platform, said a temple trustee Prafull N. Surpuriya.

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. (IANS)

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