The festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated with great fervor by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists all over India and neighbouring country, Nepal. This unique and traditional festival of India commemorates the serpent deity and Lord Shiva who is believed to guard his devotees from the venomous snake bite. On this auspicious day, snakes are worshipped as they are considered as a symbol of morality, rebirth and untapped spiritual energy known as Kundalini. A large number of people visit temples on this day to offer milk and sweets to Nag Devta in order to seek his blessings. Various rituals and beliefs make this festival quite intriguing. So check out the complete information about this amazing festival of India.
Every year on the fifth day of Shravan month which usually falls in July or August, Nag Panchami is celebrated in different parts of the country with great fervor. It is believed that worshing Nag Devta aka Aadi Shesha is essential for all human beings as he carries Earth on his head. That’s the reason why various Naga Aradhanas are performed on this day in order to thank him and to seek his blessings. People also perform rituals such as Naga Tambila, Ashlesha Bali, Naagatanu and Naagamandala on this auspicious day.
Also, another significance behind this festival is to appease the snake god and to seek his blessings during the month of monsoon. This is the time when humans are vulnerable to snake bite as snakes slither on the surface as their underground shelters are filled with rainwater hence the festival is observed.
In the Hindu culture, snakes hold great significance as we find their mention in various Indian scriptures like Agni Purana, Narada Purana etc. There are many legends associated with Nag Panchami and according to one such legend mentioned in Mahabharata, Lord Kashyapa, who was the son of Lord Brahma married the daughters of King Prajapati namely Kadru and Vinata. It is believed that Kadru went on to birth the race of Nagas in whose honour, eventually, the festival of Nag Panchami came into being. On the other hand, Vinata gave birth to Aruna and Garuda who became the charioteer of the Sun God.
Another legend goes back to the time of Lord Krishna. According to the legend, when Lord Krishna was just a child, he was attacked by the giant serpent Kaliya. Krishna then sprang on Kaliya's many heads and began dancing. Due to this, Kaliya soon started vomiting blood and began to lose consciousness. Seeing this, his wives came and pleaded with Lord Krishna not to kill him. He eventually apologised to Lord Krishna and promised that he will stop bothering anyone.
On the day of Nag Panchami, devotees gather at various temples all across India for performing various rituals and conduct pooja ceremonies which include offering milk to the snake deities. People also observe fast throughout the day. There are many households who don’t eat fried food on this particular occasion. At many places, digging the Earth is also forbidden.
On the occasion of Naag Panchami, one can go back to the time when India was known as the land of snake charmers. On this special day, you can see snake charmers entertaining crowds. For instance, one place in India which is famous for witnessing such traditions is Battis Shirala that is located about 400 kilometres from Mumbai. Previously, the snakes were carried to the temples where they were offered milk, however, this practice was banned by Bombay High Court back in 2014.
Though the festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated all over India, there are some special temples in different regions where festivity is relatively grand and worth witnessing. Check out the major attractions of Nag Panchami and how to reach these places in India where you can grab unique rituals.
One of the best temples in India where you can enjoy the glorious rituals of Nag Panchmi festival is Nagchandreshwar Temple in Ujjain. This temple in Madhya Pradesh is a unique manifestation of Lord Shiva and houses a rare idol of him on the third floor of the famous Mahakaleshwar temple complex. The temple is opened only once in a year on Nag Panchami and is visited by a large number of devotees from all over India.
Located in Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, Dhauli Nag Temple is a must visit especially during Nag Panchami festival. The temple is dedicated to serpent deity and is visited by a large number of devotees owing to its significance and popularity.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple in Haripad is where you can head for Nag Panchami festival. It is an ancient pilgrimage shrine and most revered for worshiping snake god. This temple was envisaged by Lord Parasurama himself who is believed to be the creator of Kerala and which is why it is very popular as well.
One of the places where you can grab a view of unique rituals and vibrancy of this festival of India is Naag Mandir at Patnitop, Jammu. Situated amid snow-capped Himalayan mountain ranges, this temple is about 600-year-old and totally worth visiting especially on the day of Nag Panchami.
Nag Panchami in Karnataka is a grand affair of five days. People especially in the Coorg region observe this festival with great enthusiasm and perform various rituals near its noka platform which is an ancestral incarnation of snake. Girls in the region offer milk, sweets and flowers on the clay idols of snakes and light lamps to seek blessings.
Maharashtra is a wonderful place to witness Nag Panchami celebrations. Marked by several rituals such as bathing idols of snake deity with milk and offering prayers, this festival is a grand affair in the state. You can see snake charmers, women clad in Nauvari sarees and some vibrant rituals that are performed on this day.
In Delhi, you can experience the best view of this festival at Sree Swami Malai Mandir and other temples of the city where long queues of devotees are worth witnessing. Also, on this auspicious day people observe fast and follow rituals such as offering milk, flowers and sweets to the serpent deity in order to please him.
Q. Why do we celebrate Nag Panchami?
A. Nag Panchami is celebrated to appease the snake god and to seek his blessings.
Q. What should not eat in Nag Panchami?
A. Usually people avoid consuming green leafy vegetables on this day.
Q. Is Nag Panchami an auspicious day?
A. Nag Panchami is considered to be an auspicious day in India.
Q. Why are snakes worshipped on this day?
A. On this auspicious day, snakes are worshipped as they are considered as a symbol of morality and rebirth. Also, the festival falls in the month of monsoon when snakes usually come out from their underground homes and are visible. That is why snakes are worshipped on this in order to save people from venomous snakebites.
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