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Nagula Chavithi – festival and worship of Snakes in Andhra Pradesh

Nagula Chavithi is an auspicious day dedicated to Nagas (Snakes) in Andhra Pradesh and in parts of Karnataka. Naagula Chavithi is celebrated on the fourth day after Deepavali and in many places it is a three day festival – Nagula Chavithi is followed by Nagapanchami and Nagashashti on the subsequent days. Nagaraja (Cobra) is worshipped on the day at Nagendra Swamy temples (Naga or Nagaraja Temples) and near snake pits.

It must be noted here that the famous Naga Panchami festival observed in Shravan Month (July – August) is of great significance in South India. Nagula Chavithi is also dedicated to serpents but is observed in Kartik Month (October – November) after Diwali. Naga Panchami is celebrated in most places in South India but Nagula Chavithi is confined to the Telugu community.

Majority of the people do the pujas and make the offerings at the Nagaraja temples. The worship of snakes is part of nature worship and it is meant to give the message that each aspect of Nature is crucial for the survival of the other. Imbalance in Nature will lead to total destruction of all living beings.

But sadly, for many people the main event on Nagula Chavithi day is offering of milk and eggs to the snakes. Some people also decorate snake pits, known as Valmeekam or Puttu, and offer milk and eggs. Snake charmers also bring snakes to villages and towns and people make offerings to them.
Forcefully feeding snakes, pouring milk into snake pits and bursting crackers should be discouraged. This only leads to the death of snakes. Snakes don’t drink milk but the practice has been encouraged by popular beliefs.

Snake worship is a symbolic way of saying to people to respect and worship Nature because the survival of human beings depends on the survival of others species in Nature.