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July 27 is Nag Panchami : Here’s Why Summoning the Serpent God is of Significance in this Hindu Festival

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Women shower flowers, rice and turmeric powder over snake deities in reverence of the gods. Wikimedia
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  • Rich mythological background of Hindu culture believes there exist seven realms of universe below the earth
  • Snakes have a momentous part in holy Hindu scriptures
  • Nag Panchami is celebrated to seek defense against serpent gods

New Delhi, July 26, 2017: 

In the land of snake charmers, man has always lived to strike harmony with the environment. Keeping this in view, Nag Panchami is celebrated to appease the serpent gods throughout India, Nepal, and places with Hindu populations. This year, July 27, marks Nag Panchami and is celebrated with zeal and fervour.

Snakes comprise a significant space in Hindu mythology as they are considered the residents of the Patal Lok or Nag Lok. Thus, they are worshiped seeking protection of the family and the community in totality.

Nag Panchami is one of the lesser known Hindu festivals.
Nag Panchami is popularly celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. Wikimedia

Date and Day 

Nag Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla Paksha (the waxing moon) during the month of Shravana (Sawan) according to the traditional Hindu calendar. Normally, Nag Panchami falls two days after Hariyali Teej.

The festival is celebrated during the monsoon months because that is when snakes are most apparent after their underground homes are filled with water.

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The Story Behind the Festival

The ancient literature says Kashyapa, son of Great Lord Brahma, the creator of the dynasty had four consorts. The Third wife of Brahma was Kadru who belonged to the Naga race of the Pitru Loka. She gave birth to the Nagas among the other three, the remaining the three gave birth to Devas, Garuda, Daityas.

The Third wife of Brahma was Kadru who belonged to the Naga race of the Pitru Loka. She gave birth to the Nagas among the other three, the remaining three gave birth to Devas, Garuda, and Daityas. The Epic Story of Mahabharata mentions, Astika, the Brahmin son of Jaratkarus, who spotted the Sarpa Satra of Janamejaya, king of the Kuru Empire, that lasted for 12 long years.

Yagna was performed by Janamejaya to decimate the race of all snakes, to avenge the death of his father Parikshit due to snake bite off of Takshaka, the King of snakes. The day fire sacrifice was stopped, due to the intervention of Astika was on the Shukla Paksha Panchami day in the month of Shravan when Takshaka and his remaining races at that time were saved from decimation by the shape Satra Yana. From that day, the festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated in all over India and Nepal.

Rituals 

The Puja on Nag Panchami is conducted either at home, or at temples where women bathe deities of the serpent gods with water and milk, and decorate them with flowers and turmeric. Mansa Devi, the snake goddess is especially offered prayers on this day.

Snake charmers are often seen roaming around the city with their pet defanged snakes, playing local tunes on flutes, praising the serpent gods. Women often shower these snakes with flowers, rice, and turmeric powder, and give them sweetened milk as an offering to the gods. At places where snakes are uncommon, milk bowls are placed outside, hoping for the reptiles to visit and accept the offering.

In some places, it is a common practice to draw images of the Navnag with turmeric or red sandalwood, which is then worshiped. The Navnag comprises of nine snakes –

  1. Ananta
  2. Vasuki
  3. Shesha
  4. Padmanabha
  5. Kambala
  6. Shankhapala
  7. Dhritarashtra
  8. Takshaka
  9. Kalia

Nag Chaturthi – In some regions, fasting is observed a day before Nag Panchami. In Andhra Pradesh, it is observed just after Diwali. In Gujarat, it is called Nag Pancham and is usually observed three days before Krishna Janmashtami.

Nag Panchami Puja Muhurat – 07:01 to 08:25
Panchami Tithi Begins – 07:01 on July 27, 2017
Panchami Tithi Ends – 06:38 on July 28, 2017
(24-hour clock with local time of Delhi and DST)

 

– by Soha Kala for NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala


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Monsoon Road Trips from Mumbai

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel

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Here are some top recommendations for your next best road trip in this season of Monsoon. Pixabay

The floods in Mumbai have been in the news lately, an annual chaos that seems to have become part and parcel of life in the country’s financial capital. However, the monsoons are not a season to dread and just outside the city, as the curious traveller ventures higher into the Western Ghats, there are some picture-perfect destinations for the season. Here are some top recommendations.

Lonavala
Lonavala would be on top of the monsoon destination list for most Mumbaikars. Wrapped in fog, this historic region gains a completely new avatar in the rains as the forested mountain slopes regenerate and the waterfalls come to life. One of these is Kune Falls, which roars amidst a pristine verdant scenery.

The Lohagad Fort has always been one of the most captivating sites on this route and the monsoon mist gives it an allure straight of a medieval-theme video game or movie. A trek to Liones Point is recommended – the season would require special precautions like monsoon-ready footwear and waterproof clothing. While in Lonavala town, a visit to the lake is not a bad idea.

Khandala
Just next to Lonavala, one can reach the quaint hill town of Khandala, perched at close to 2000 feet above sea level. The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make this place an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro, not to mention the splendorous drive on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Some of the popular viewpoints here are the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan Point. Other attractions here include the Buddhist cave temples at Karla and the calm and placid Bhushi Lake.

khandala
The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make Khandala an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro.

Mahabaleshwar
A jewel tucked in the lap of the mighty Sahyadari Mountains; Mahabaleshwar offers visitors a curious mix of colonial heritage and striking Indian history. Built by Shivaji, Pratapgad Fort has an enigmatic presence in the landscape here, a site of many important events.

Those looking to enjoy some of the high elevations will love a trek to the summit of Wilson Point, famous for its panoramic views of the valley below. The Needle Hole Point is another famous place to catch a glimpse of the scenic landscapes. Venna Lake is another centrepiece attraction at Mahabaleshwar while the hilltop Krishnabai Temple is famous for its architecture and Krishna statue.

More and more travellers are choosing a car rental over public transport. Rates are increasingly affordable and self drive gives total control over the pace of the journey. One can make impromptu stops and detours and there is complete privacy.

Finding a car rental in Mumbai is as simple as a few taps on an app. With platforms like Zoomcar, registered users can book a vehicle in a matter of minutes. One can choose from a wide range of cars – maybe a hatchback or sedan for the family getaway – or maybe a large SUV for the boisterous group road trip. 24/7 on-road support is one of the assurances that self drive rentals offer.

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel.