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Bhogavati – City Of Serpents In Hinduism

Bhogavati is the legendary city of Nagas or serpents in Hinduism, a celestial abode described vividly in various Hindu scriptures. The name "Bhogavati" translates to "the city of pleasure" or "the city of enjoyment," fitting for its depiction as a wondrous and enchanting realm.

Description and Significance

In the Mahabharata (5.103), Bhogavati is described by Sage Narada as a magnificent city that rivals Amaravati, the splendid city of Indra, king of the gods. The city is portrayed as a place of great beauty and splendor, adorned with precious gems and metals, lush gardens, and divine architecture. It is a subterranean realm, often associated with the Patala (netherworld) region in Hindu cosmology.

Rulers and Inhabitants

Bhogavati is ruled by the mighty serpent king Vasuki, who is a prominent Naga in Hindu mythology. Vasuki is known for his role in the churning of the ocean of milk (Samudra Manthan), where he served as the churning rope. Another significant figure residing in Bhogavati is Shesha, also known as Ananta, the serpent upon whom Lord Vishnu rests. Shesha is often depicted as the king of all Nagas, and his presence in Bhogavati underscores the city's importance in Hindu lore.

The city is also home to innumerable other Nagas, the serpent beings who are the sons of the sage Kashyapa and his wife Surasa. These serpents are often depicted as both benevolent and malevolent beings, possessing immense power and wisdom. The Nagas of Bhogavati are considered to be protectors of treasures and possess profound knowledge of the earth and its secrets.

Cultural and Mythological References

Bhogavati's depiction in Hindu mythology highlights the deep symbolic association of Nagas with fertility, prosperity, and the underworld. The Nagas are revered in many Hindu traditions, and their worship is believed to bring protection and blessings. Temples dedicated to Nagas often reference Bhogavati as their mythical origin.

Modern Interpretations

In contemporary Hindu culture, Bhogavati remains a symbol of the mystical and the unknown. It represents a connection to the ancient traditions and myths that continue to influence Hindu beliefs and practices. The city's legendary status also inspires various artistic and literary works, reflecting its enduring place in the collective imagination.

In summary, Bhogavati, the City of Serpents, holds a revered and enigmatic position in Hinduism. Its descriptions in sacred texts like the Mahabharata, its association with powerful serpent deities like Vasuki and Shesha, and its role in the broader tapestry of Hindu mythology make it a fascinating subject for both religious scholars and devotees.