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For other uses, see Shani (disambiguation).
Shani graha.JPG
Affiliation Navagraha, Medieval Hindu astrology
Planet Saturn
Day Saturday
23 feet tall statue of Shani in Bannanje, Udupi

Shani (Sanskrit: शनि, Śani) refers to planet Saturn, and is one of the Navagraha in Hindu astrology.[1] The planet is depicted as a male deity in the Puranas, whose iconography consists of a dark (black) figure carrying a sword (or another weapon) and sitting on a buffalo (or crow or vulture).[1][2] He is considered inauspicious, a deity who gets mad easily and one who takes thorough revenge for whatever made him upset.[2] In medieval Hindu literature, inconsistent mythologies sometimes refer to him as the son of the sun god, Surya and Chhaya (shadow); his alternate names include Ara, Kona and Kroda.[1]

Shani is the basis for Shanivara – one of the seven days that make a week in the Hindu calendar.[2] This day corresponds to Saturday – after Saturn – in the Greco-Roman convention for naming the days of the week.[3][4] The zodiac and naming system of Hindu astrology likely developed in the centuries after the arrival of Greek astrology with Alexander the Great,[5][6][7] their zodiac signs being nearly identical.[8] Technical horoscopes and astrology ideas in India came from Greece, states Nicholas Campion, and developed in the early centuries of the 1st millennium CE.[9]

Shani is worshipped by some to dispel dangerous ghosts and other supernatural beings. The fig tree called Pipal is considered by some Hindus to be the abode of Shani (while other Hindus associate the same tree with Vasudeva).[10]

In 2013, a 20-foot-tall statue of Lord Shani was established at Yerdanur in the mandal of Sangareddy, Medak district, nearly 40 kilometers from Hyderabad city. It was carved from a monolith and weighs about nine tonnes.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6. 
  2. ^ a b c James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 608–609. ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4. 
  3. ^ Walter W. Skeat (1993). The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Wordsworth. p. 415. ISBN 978-1-85326-311-8. 
  4. ^ T. F. Hoad (2008). "Saturday". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press. p. 1329. ISBN 978-1-4395-0571-7. 
  5. ^ Yukio Ohashi 1999, pp. 719–721.
  6. ^ Pingree 1973, pp. 2–3.
  7. ^ Erik Gregersen (2011). The Britannica Guide to the History of Mathematics. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-61530-127-0. 
  8. ^ James Lochtefeld (2002), "Jyotisha" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 326–327
  9. ^ Nicholas Campion (2012). Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions. New York University Press. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-8147-0842-2. 
  10. ^ David L. Haberman (2013). People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India. Oxford University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-19-992916-0. 
  11. ^ Avadhani, R. (February 17, 2013). "Largest Shani statue unveiled". The Hindu. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 

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