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Symbolism Of Snake Sculptures In Hindu Temples

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.

Snake sculptures are also associated with nature worship. Ancient Hindus had realized that Nature is essential to our lives – from water, food, clothes and medicines are all provided by nature. Without nature we have got no life. Nature should be well preserved for the benefit of us and the future generations.

There is also a story which states the land were occupied by poisonous snakes and they decided to move underground so that human beings can reside without fear. Snakes are worshipped for this sacrifice of thiers.