The holy temple of Shani in the laid-back city of Nashik is preparing for a face-off of faith. A righteous thousand are going to lay siege and break traditional barriers which are centuries old.
Meanwhile the self-appointed custodians of faith say women can never be allowed to enter the sacred platform. Their army of 4000 will form a wall of defence to repel the onslaught of those who dare to question tradition.
The police and the temple authorities, meanwhile have put up three levels of barricades, deployed a considerable force of women constables and village volunteers to guard the temple from the likely onslaught.
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.