History of Naga PanchamiIt is difficult to ascertain when the worship of snakes began and the exact origins of the festival. Though the custom of snake worship is deemed strange by many people, it is considered auspicious for the native Indian and associated with many Hindu Gods. Seshanaga (commonly depicted as a snake with 5 hoods) serves as the bed of Lord Vishnu and according to Hindu mythology; the world rests on the hood of Seshanaga. Snake-worship is an ancient Hindu custom and widely attributed to have been started by the ‘Naga’ clan, a highly advanced ethnic race who lived in ancient India. This custom of snake-worship finds mention in the chronicles of the Indus Valley Civilization dating back to as far as 3000 B.C., indicating the popularity of this tradition among the Naga tribe. Later, Aryans also began worship of snake deities and this fact finds mention in the ancient Hindu Puranas.
Mention of Snake Gods in Sacred TextsThe tradition of snake-worship is also believed to be mentioned in the 8th Ashtaka of the Rig Veda, which mentions the Earth as the Sarpa-Rajni (queen of the serpents). The Yajur Veda addresses the serpents as the denizens of the Heavens, the skies and the essence of all animate & inanimate objects. The ancient Manu (ancestors of human race), also mentions about the Nagas and Sarpas. Images of snakes are also widespread in Hindu temples dating back to the medieval era. The world famous ancient Ajanta caves also have several images depicting snake-worship rituals.