Paragraph on Naga Panchami (617 Words)

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Falling in the month of August, Naga Panchami is perhaps a pre-Aryan festival that has been accepted in the Hindu pantheon celebrated in the north and western India, this is a day of worship of the Snake-God Shesha (the infinite) on whom Lord Vishnu reclines.


Serpent festivals are held at various times of the year according to local custom, one of the most significant being the ‘Naga Panchami’.

Naga ‘Snake’ is also applied to the mythical serpents like Takshaka, Sesa, Vasuki etc. Taksaka is a naga chief a descendant of Visala. In Vishnu Purana, he is stated to be a son of Kadru.

On Naga Panchami day, the worship of this Great Snake Taksaka takes places to get relief from the curse of snakes, performed mostly by females in some parts of India. In Ballia district, fairs and wrestling competition are held at many places. On this day of Naga Panchami festival held in August, special wrestling bouts are organized in the akharas of Varanasi. Varanasi is known for its akharas where wrestlers are trained in Indian style.

Serpent festivals are almost invariably conducted by a low caste villager, such as a potter, shoemaker or fisherman, though occasionally in Hinduised vil­lages a brahmin may act as a priest. During Naga Panchami, the women of each family bring to the shrine an earthen or clay representation of a serpent or a pot depicting a serpent and later they pour offerings of milk and cereals into the snake’s holes. House-holders, after giving portions of the daily food to brahmins, also throw some to dogs, insects, birds and serpents.


This is the most important celebra­tion of the ancient serpent deities that falls in the waxing fortnight of Shravana. On Naga Panchami, their images are painted on either side of the doorways of houses and they are propitiated there with offerings of milk and puffed rice. At Naga Panchami time, devotee can buy entire sheets of naga images for this purpose, printed in pairs on brightly coloured tissue paper, so that they can be affixed to every doorway in the house. There are double nagas intertwined in a double-helix, naga holding Shiva’s linga in their coils, and the famous images of Krishna dancing on the five-headed hood of the naga. Naga Panchami is for all, regardless of sectarian belief.

The figure of a serpent is made of clay or drawn on the wall, and worshipped. Liying serpents are brought and fed with milk and eggs. All this is done to deprecate the wrath of the venomous reptile. Most of the South Indian houses have their own shrine, often in the form of a grove reserved for snakes, consisting of trees, festooned with creepers, situated in a corner of the garden.

Sometimes a stone with a snake depicted on it is setup, similar stones are also erected in villages, often under a tree, and women desiring children visit them. Neglect of the snakes arouses their anger and may result in sickness in the house­hold. Snakes were regarded as part of the property and transfer deeds made special mention of the family serpent as one of the articles sold along with the freehold.

In Rajasthan, Uttar-Pradesh, Bihar and North India, reverence for the Naga (Cobra) is shown on this day of Naga Panchami. This day is dedicated to the great thousand headed mythical serpent called ‘Sesha’ or Anant’ meaning ‘infinite’. Vishnu, the Hindu God of preservation reclined on him in contemplation during the interval between the dissolution of one aeon and the creation of another. At Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, on Naga Panchami day, huge cloth effigies of the mythical serpent are displayed at a colourful fair.

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