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Symbolism of Snake or Naga sculptures in Hindu Temple

Naga or snake is a symbol of fertility and water in Hindu religion. Most Hindu temples have sculptures or murtis of serpents. As per Hindu scriptures, Nagas reside in Patala, the last of the seven worlds under the earth and their king is Ananta or Sesha.

Naga is a general term used in Hindu religion for quasi divine hybrid beings that guard the mineral wealth of the earth. They are represented as having a varying number of hoods. Often they are portrayed as handsome men wearing crowns, large earrings and ornaments, accompanied by beautiful women with a single cobra hoods over their heads.

In sculptures, Nagas appear as subservient to or adjuncts of important deities or as popular household guardians of rivers, tanks, well etc.

In South India, women desiring children set up votive naga stones under the trees and worship them.