Today is Nag Panchami 2017 the festival of snake worship. Celebrated to mark the reunion of Hindu God Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Nag Panchami is one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. It is believed that Goddess Parvati was reborn 108 times before reuniting with Lord Shiva on the day of this day. Nag Panchami falls on the fifth day of the bright half of the lunar Hindu month of Shravan. It is celebrated two days after Hariyali Teej or choti teej which is a prominent festival in north India. Several states have their own ways of celebrating Nag Panchami. For instance, Nag Panchami celebrations in Karnataka begin five days before the actual day of Nag Panchami and ends with a big feast. However, the state in India that puts its best foot forward for Nag Panchami celebration is Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, several devotees visit temples dedicated to snake Gods to offer their prayers, Idols are bathed with water and milk and decorated with flowers. Rituals employing vermilion, turmeric and incense are performed to please the Gods. On the occasion of Nag Panchami 2017, here are a few photos that show how Nag Panchami is celebrated by locals in Maharashtra.
A man offers a coconut during Nag Panchami rituals in Nagpur
Nag Panchami in Nagpur
Serpent idols are worshiped all over Maharshtra and India on Nag Panchami
Several idols are placed under banyan trees and devotees visit these idols to offer their respects
Coconuts, camphor, incense and flowers are common ingredients while performing Hindu rituals
Lighting fragrant incense is an important part of Nag Panchami prayers, like in all Hindu festivals
Several couples perform prayers together during Nag Panchami
Like in this picture from Pune, groups of women often meet up to perform rituals and offer prayers during Nag Panchami
As you can see, devotees all over Maharashtra indulge in dedicated rituals to please the snake gods during Nag Panchami. Shiva devotees consider Nag Panchami extremely significant and leave no stone unturned to pay their respects on this day. Several devotees abstain from non-vegetarian food and alcohol for the entire month of Shravan to please the Gods. It is common to find snake charmers with their pet snakes on the roads today playing tunes on their flutes. This is not just to entertain crowds and make some money but also to appease the snake gods who are revered and find an important place in Hindu mythology.