Adventures at Matheran Hill Station
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Matheran is a Hill Station located near Mumbai, Karjat.   It is located 800 meters above sea level in the Jambol Forest of Maharashtra.  It was found by Hugh Poynts Malet in May 1850.  It spreads over an area of 8 square kilometers in Sahyadri Mountains.  It is one of the best places to spend a two-day holiday if you are in Mumbai or in the vicinity of Mumbai or its suburbs.  To reach Matheran,  [...]

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Nag Panchami – The Snake Fete

Posted on October 31, 2011 | FestivalsNo Comment


Come the month of Shravan and the states of Maharashtra, West Bengal and South India see a lot of celebration. This is the time of Nag Panchami, the festival of the Hindus. Hinduism has many facets but the common search is the search for the truth and Hindus mainly believe that it is a way of life and follows the simple form of worship of nature. So all the cults, beliefs and deities centre around this.

Nag Panchami is a very important festival in India and is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Shravan which is in the months of July and August. At this time, the serpents come out after getting drenched in the rain water and therefore find a better place to take shelter in the gardens etc. So they pose a danger at times.

Nag Panchami

So Nag Panchami is a worship of the snakes. When mankind started developing the Sun and the snake have always been worshipped. Snake worship in India existed even before the Vedic Age.

Ancient India had a clan called the Nagas. They had a greatly developed culture. The Indus Valley Civilization has proof of worship of snake amongst these Nagas. Their culture was quite predominant in India even before the arrival of the Aryans. Then the Naga culture became a part of Hinduism and the snake deities became a common feature. Snakes have had a mention even in the Puranic form of Hinduism.

 

Nag Panchami Nag Panchami

We can find mention in the Vasuki, Anant, Shesh, Padma, Karkotak, Kanwal, Aswatar, Kalia, Sankhpal, Takshak, Pingal and Dhritarashtra. It is also believed that these were not snakes but Naga Kings.

The Shesh Nag with the thousand heads is a symbol of eternity. He is found in the couch where Lord Vishnu lies. It is here that the Indian God is said to relax when one Universe gets dissolved and another is formed. So the Hindus have great belief in the immortality value of the snakes as the snake sloughs its skin. Eternity any way is represented in Hinduism with the serpent eating its tail.

Besides Hinduism, the Jains and Buddhists also regard snake as sacred and believe it has divine qualities. In fact, it is said that a cobra has saved the Buddha’s life and protected Parshwanath the Jain Muni. Even today we can see a big serpent carved on the head of the idol of Parshwanath Muni. Medieval Indian sculptures also have a lot of snake carvings. The Ajanta Caves also has a lot of snake carvings. Even in the Arthashastra, Kautilya has described the cobra snakes in detail.

Nag Panchami

Thus the cobra snake has always charmed mankind and has a lot of tales related to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Subramanyam.

There is also the famous legend of Sri Krishna. It is said that once while playing, the ball fell into the Yamuna River and Krishna had to vanquish kalia the serpent in the process of searching for the ball.

On Nag Panchami live cobras are worshipped and given a bath with milk and turmeric powder and vermillion. Then a dakshina of milk and rice or coins of gold or silver are given. Sometimes a cow is given away.

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