New Delhi: On Nag Panchami, people worship snake gods, as Nag refers to a snake in Hindi. The day is significant for devotees of Lord Shiva and Vishnu.
On this day, in the month of Sawan, devotees pray to the Nag Devta or the snake god. Idols and pictures of Lord Shiva are incomplete without a snake around his neck. Shiva is also known as Nageshwar and the snake that coils around his neck, just like an ornament, is called Vasuki.
This year, Nag Panchami will be celebrated on July 25, 2020, Saturday.
On this day, women worship Nag Devta and offer milk to snakes. They also pray for the wellness of their brothers and family.
It is believed that the festival began when Takshak, the king of snakes, stalked King Janamejaya’s father Parikshit and killed him. To avenge his death, King Janamejaya conducted a yajna (to eliminate the entire Naga caste. The day the yagna was stopped due to the intervention of the Brahmin Astika Rishi is celebrated as Nag Panchami. It is also believed that on the day of Nag Panchami, Lord Krishna killed Kaliya Nag to save the lives of the people of Gokul.
According to Hindu scriptures Lord Shiva’s snake Vasuki took part in the Samudra Manthan, that explains the origin of amrita or the nectar of immortality. Vasuki helped both the devas and the asuras to bind him to Mount Mandara or Mandar Parvat so that they could use him as their churning rope to get the amrita from the ocean. Vasuki is mentioned extensively in Hindu scriptures and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.