Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nag Panchami A day with venomous cobras

Nag Panchami A day with venomous cobras

India a land of miracles and faith in worship, an aspirant to the students of spirituality and religious rituals. Here you may find that every sunrise comes with a festival, a specific reason to celebrate the day, hence the phrase “Land of Festivals” is correctly used with the context of India. India is only country where you can find a worship celebration related not only to God and Goddess but also to plants and rivers.

The fifth day of bright fortnight of Shravan month [July-August] is celebrated as “Nag Panchami” through out the India, though celebration in south are at high notes in comparison of north India. The Indus Valley civilisation of 3000 B.C. gives ample proof of the popularity of snake-worship amongst the Nagas, whose culture was fairly wide-spread in India, according to Puranas some of the famous Naga Kings are Anant, Vasuki, Shesh, Padma, Kanwal, Karkotak, Kalia, Aswatar, Takshak, Sankhpal, Dhritarashtra and Pingal. Sheshnag is the couch of the Lord Vishnu during the interim times of destroying of the universe and creating a new one. India is country of farmers and snakes are the friends of the farmer, as by eating rats, snakes are helpful in saving the food grains cultivated by the farmer. This is yet another evidence of wisdom of Hindu masters that this festival “Nag Panchami” celebration related with worship of snakes, is celebrated during the rainy season, when need of protection for snakes is at its top. Some of famous places for the celebration of this day are

Adiesha Temple in Andhra Pradesh

Nagaraja Temple in Kerala

Nagathamman Temple in Chennai

Hardevja Temple in Jaipur.

Nagdwar Temple Pachmadi, Madhyapradesh

I am going to share with you here about a place which is not so famous but where you can spends this day in the company of venomous cobras without any fear, you can find here numerous number of snakes moving freely in the courtyard of Gorakhnath temple without showing any intension of biting the human beings present there. This place, village “Battis-Shirala” is just about 50 km away from us, in the Sangli District of Maharashtra , nearly 400 km from the Mumbai. According to old aged, the roots of this celebration lie in, once Guru Gorakhnath was passing through this village, he saw that a woman was worshiping a clay snake idol, with the spiritual powers Guru Gorakhnath brought life to that cobra idol and ask woman to worship. Guru Gorakhnath told not to fear of the snakes; no human will die on this day due to snake bite. In the recent times people not only from the Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune and other districts of Maharashtra but a few foreign tourists are also visiting the place on this day to be witness of thousands of snakes moving freely. Some time back officials from the Chennai snake park visited and confirm that poison containing fangs of snakes are not removed even than it is amazing thing no one die due to snake bite.

The villagers start collecting the snakes about 8-10 days in advance and keep them in earthen pots and feed rats to snakes. The celebrations starts with early morning bath by the woman, who wear “Nav wari” , The traditional nine yard Maharashtarian Saree, and ornaments before the start of worship and offering of “Haldi coonkoon and Flowers”. All the earthen pots are taken to temple in procession, where after the religious rituals snakes are feeded with milk and honey. This is only place in world, where you can have a self photo, with the look of Lard Shiva, venomous cobra around your neck, without fear on this day.

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