One of the most revered deities of Hindu Mythology, Lord Shani is widely worshipped in the country. The son of Surya and Chhaya, Lord Shani is believed to be the God of karma and justice. There are number of famous temples and shrines of God Shanidev in India, located at different regions such as Shani Shingnapur Maharashtra,Thirunallar Shree Shaneeshwara Koil and Sri Shani Temple Kuchanoor.
1. Shani Shinganapur, Maharashtra
Shani Shingnapur or Shani Shinganapur or Shingnapur is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn. Shingnapur is 35km from Ahmednagar city. Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. … Villagers believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft. The deity here is “Swayambhu” (Sanskrit: self-evolved deity) that is self emerged from earth in form of black, imposing stone. 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 village, also known as Sonai and attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad. 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.
2. Shani Dham, Delhi
Temple is located in the Indian capital of Delhi, and contains the world’s tallest statue of Shani. In the last few years i.e. on 31 May 2003 the largest Shani Idol was unveiled by Anant Shree Vibhushit Jagat Guru Shankracharya Swami Madhavasharam Ji Maharaj. Situated near Asola in Delhi, Shani Dham temple is one of those rare temples in India that houses a natural rock Idol of Lord Shani. This statue is very radiant and is the tallest statue of Lord Shani in the world. The Shani God holds a powerful influence on the astrology and religion of Hindus. Devotees visit this temple and pay homage here as according to the Hindu belief, the hardest of troubles and problems are caused due to the adversity of Shani and they are extinguished within no time by worshiping here and by offering oil (Telabhishek) to Lord Shani.
3. Thirunallar, Tamil Nadu
Thirunallar is a small town in Karaikal, India, in the Union Territory of Puducherry, and can be reached by road from the town of Karaikal, an enclave which lies within the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. It is believed that King Nala got relief of his disease caused by the influence of Saturn after worshipping at this temple. The place is called the Nala Theertam ever since then. Devotees from all over the world come here to bath and get rid of any problems or diseases caused by the past karmas. The temple complex covers around two acre and entered through a five tiered gopuram, the main gateway. The temple has a number of shrines, with those of Dharbaranyeswarar, his consort Praneswari Amman, Saniswararan and Somaskandar being the most prominent. All the shrines of the temple are enclosed in large concentric rectangular granite walls. The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and four yearly festivals on its calendar. Mahasivarathri festival celebrated during the month of the Chittirai (March – April) is the most prominent festival of the temple for the presiding deity, while Sanipeyarchi festival that occurs every 2.5 years is the most prominent for Shani.
4. Shanichara, Madhya Pradesh
There is Aiti village in Morena Madhya Pradesh where Shani Dev has special significance throughout the country. Lord Hanuman freed shani from captivity and brought Shani Dev here.Since then Shani Dev has been sitting here. It is said that even today, Shani Dev sits in immortal form here. Seeing the miracle of Shani Dev, this temple was renovated by the Scindia royal family of Gwalior. According to legend, the place is the mark where Shani Dev fell, when he was thrown by Sri Hanuman from Lanka to be rescued from Ravana. The Hindus consider Shani or Saturn in great awe and respect. In fact, Saturn is the only deity whose kind glance is believed to bestow prosperity, while a fierce look can cause unparalleled misfortune on the object of its attention. The temple houses the original black idol of Shani brought from Lanka. The main offering to Lord Shani is mustard oil. The statue of Hanuman ji is also installed outside the temple. A grand prayer is organized on every Saturday and on every Amavasya Shanivar at this temple, which attracts a large number of devotees from different parts of the district as well as from various other parts of the state and outside. It is believed that Parikrama of ‘Shani Parvat’, a mountain of 14 km perimeter, relieved people from the curse of Shani Dev.
5. Tirunallar Saniswaran Temple, Pondicherry
The Saneeswaran Temple is one of the Navagraha Temples, where the presiding deity is Lord Shiva but the temple is known for Lord Saneeswaran [Saturn] who is the doorkeeper here for Shiva. It is believed you can only see Lord Shiva after seeking bessing from Saneeswaran. Lord Shiva is in the form of Dharbaranyeswarar here. Long ago the place where the temple is situated was dense forest of Dharbha Grass, and thus Shiva is worshipped as Dharbaranyeswarar, and the temple got its other name Dharbaranyeswarar Temple. The idol of Lord Shiva here, depict him performing one of the seven dance forms of Shiva himself and therefor the temple is one of the “Saptha Vidanga Sthalams”. The lingam worshipped here is a Swayambhu Lingam, which means it is not man made, rather it is a self-manifested Lingam. Sani Peyarchi festival is the most celebrated festival of the Saneeswaran Temple. It is a 2 day long festival conducted every two and half years when Sani [Saturn] changes its rashi or position. Shivaratri Festival is celebrated during the months of February- March every year and the traditional Brahmotsavam festival during the Vaikasi month. The temple is open morning 6:00 am to 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.