Serpents have a lot of prominence in the Indian mythology and culture. Devotees have great reverence for snake gods in India. In fact, it is seen as a sin to kill snakes. There is also a tradition of performing death ceremonies for snakes if they are killed accidently. In the Hindu culture, serpent gods are seen as revenge seekers. So nobody prefers to anger the snake gods. Let us go around the top snake temples in India!
Photo Courtesy: Vibhitha Vijay
Lord Parashurama is said to be the creator of Mannarashala Temple in Kerala. Interestingly, Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple has around 30,000 images of Naga gods here. Another speciality is that here the chief priest is a woman. Mannarasala Temple is the largest snake temple in Kerala.
Photo Courtesy: Shiva Shankar
Lord Karthikeya or Murugan is worshipped as Lord Subramanya in Karnataka. Lord Subramanya is known as the 'Lord of Serpents' according to the mythology. Kukke Subramanya in Dakshina Kannada is one of the famous snake temples in Karnataka. Devotees come here to do Sarpa Dosha Nivarana. Kukke Subramanya is also a beautiful place in the backdrop of Kumara Parvatha peak.
Bhujang Naga Temple
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Bhujang Naga Temple, Gujarat
Bhujiya Fort is an ancient fortress in the outskirts of Bhuj in Gujarat. The legend has it that the fort belonged to Naga chieftains (Naga Clan). Bhujanga, the last of Naga Clan, died in a battle and the locals built a temple for him. Today, this temple is located on top Bhujiya Hill and is known Bhujang Nag Temple.
Naganatha Swamy Temple and Oopliyappan Sannadhi are the two main temples in Tirunageswaram. Among the two, the Naganatha Swamy temple which is a famous Shiva Temple. As per the legend, the mythological snakes Adi Shesha, Kaarkotakan and Dakshan used to worship Shiva at this temple.
Nagarcoil Nagaraja Temple
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Nagarcoil Nagaraja Temple
In Nagaraja Temple of Nagarkoil, Lord Vasuki (a great King of Serpents) is worshipped as the main god. This five-headed snake god along with Lord Krishna are much revered in this region.
Photo Courtesy: Vedamurthy J
Ghati Subramanya is just 60km from Bengaluru. It is one of the powerful temples dedicated to Subramanya in Karnataka. The sanctum has two deities of Lord Subramanya and Lord Narasimha. It is one of the popular snake temples in India.
Once sage Agastya is said to have performed meditation here, so this place is known as Agasanahalli near Davanagere. According to mythology, Lord Narasimhaswamy is present in the form of Lord Subramanya (the Lord of Snakes) in Agasanahalli. Speciality is that here the Lord is in the form of an ant-hill. Interestingly, there have been sightings of a golden coloured snake around this temple. Agasanahalli Nagappa Temple is an unexplored temple with several mysteries around it. Hence, it can be called as one of the top snake temples in India.
Photo Courtesy: Akhilesh Dasgupta
Sheshnag Lake is considered as one of the holy places in Kashmir Valley. The myth says, that the lake was created by Sheshnag (the King of Snakes) himself. People believe that Sheshnag still lives in this lake around 23km from Pahalgam. Sheshnag Lake is dedicated to the Lord Shiva's snake Sheshnag. Pilgrims usually visit Sheshnag Lake on their yatra to Amarnath Cave.
Snake gods are said to be very powerful and aggressive. Many strongly believe in the powers of serpent gods.
Note: Though it is a religious practice, please avoid pouring milk into the ant-hills or to snakes. Instead, go to a temple and worship by giving your offerings. Please do not disturb or hurt snakes for religious practice.