Traditionally, Nag Panchami is observed by Hindus across India and Nepal by worshipping snakes or serpents. The festival falls on the 5th day of bright half of Shravan month, i.e. usually between July and August, as per the Hindu calendar. Patal Lok is known to be the abode of snakes (7 realms of the world found under the earth surface) and Nag Loka is lowest of them. The idol of Serpent is made of stone, silver or wood or snakes are painted on the wall. The devotees bath the snake god with milk and feed milk to the real snakes or serpents.
You can get the detailed history of snakes behind worship of them in various Indian mythological scriptures like Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Mahabharata and Narada Purana.
According to Mahabharata, the son of King Parikshit from Kuru dynasty, Janamejeya was doing Sarpa Satra (snake sacrifice) to avenge for his father’s death with a snake bite by Taksaka, the snake king. The Brahmin sages erected sacrificial fireplace to kill all the snakes in the world. The sacrifice was really very powerful where all the snakes were falling in the Yagna Kunda. It was only Takshaka who was responsible for Parikshit’s death. The priests found that he escaped to another world of Indra for protection. Hence, the sages increased the efficiency of the fire by reciting mantras to drag the snake king along with Indra to the fire.
He was covered around Indra’s clothes but sacrificial yagna was so forceful that it dragged even Indra with Takshaka into the fire. The scared god appealed to Manasa Devi to resolve the issue. Then she called her son Astika to visit the site and request Janamejaya to stop this yagna. He knew all the shastras and impressed Janamejaya and requested him to stop this process. Finally, the yagnas was stopped and he saved the lives of Lord Indra and Takshaka along with his serpent race. Since then, the day is celebrated as the day of serpents as their lives were saved. Indra also worshipped Manasa Devi.
Worship & Rituals
In Garuda Purana, praying to the snakes on Nag Panchami is considered to be auspicious and it also involves feeding Brahmins.
- People visit the snake pits and temples to worship the snakes
- Fasting is done on this day and people take food in evening only
- People pray the snake gods to be freed from the fear of serpents and snakes as they are believed to protect devotees from evils.
- The person who worships the serpents on this day should not dig the land for any reason like farming.
- It is believed that the blessings of the gods are showered in the form of rain on the snake’s hood. Hence, it rains on the day.
- Devotees offer milk, and a pinch of kumkum and turmeric, to worship the snake pits and ant hills
Don’t kill any snakes or rodents if they are spotted during that time because they come out of their home as it is flooded with water in rainy season.
In this year Nag Panchami is to be falls on 27th July 2017 (Thursday)
Nag Panchami Puja Muhurat = 07:01 am to 08:25 am
Duration = 1 Hour 24 Mins
Panchami Date Begins = 07:01 am on 27-Jul-2017
Panchami Date Ends = 06:38 am on 28-Jul-2017