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What should we do on Naga Chaturthi?

Naga Panchami is a Hindu festival, which features snake worship. The festival gets its name from the two words – ‘naga’ meaning serpent, and ‘panchami’, meaning the fifth day of the moon’s waxing or waning. Naga Panchami is celebrated in the month of Shravan (July/August), as per the Hindu lunar calendar.

History of Naga Panchami

Naga Panchami has an interesting story behind it. It all began when Takshak, the king of snakes, bit King Janamejaya’s father Parikshit and killed him. Thirsting for revenge, King Janamejaya performed a yajna to kill all snakes. But Astika Rishi put a stop to his yagna, and the day came to be celebrated as Naga Panchami. Naga Pooja is also performed on this day.

what should we do on nag chaturthi

There is also a legend associated with Lord Krishna. Krishna killed a poisonous snake called Kaliya on this exact day in Shravan month. The snake had been causing trouble to the villagers in Gokul. By killing it, Krishna saved the lives of the villagers. Since that day, Naga Panchami was observed every year. The festival is also called Garuda Panchami as Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, is also worshipped along with snakes on this day. Naga Panchami 2021/Garuda Panchami 2021 is on August 13. Another name for it is Naga Chaturthi.

On this day, people visit temples to worship snake deities. Some also visit nearby snake pits and make offerings like milk, sweets, flowers, etc., to the snakes. During the festival, women also observe a Vrat or fast. They abstain from food to express their devotion and discipline. The fast is from sunrise to sunset. Fried or salty food is not cooked on this auspicious day. The dishes prepared for this special occasion may vary from region to region.  

Let us see some popular dishes made for Naga Panchami:

Naga Panchami Recipes:

Til Ke Laddoo
 
 Ingredients:
 White sesame seeds – 3 cups
 Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
 Grated jaggery – 1 cup
 Water as needed

Method: 
 
Roast the sesame seeds till they become slightly golden-brown. Put them in a bowl and keep them aside.
Melt the jaggery with some water to make a syrup. It should not be too thick or too watery. Add the grated coconut. Cook until the water evaporates, and then add the roasted sesame seeds. Mix well.
Make small laddoos with the mixture. The mixture must not become cool, as it will be difficult to make the laddoos.

Nariyal Mithai
 
 Ingredients:
 Raw rice – 1 cup
 Grated coconut – ½
Jaggery – 1/4 cup
 Ghee – 1 tsp
 Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
 Greased plate/Banana leaf
 
 Preparation:

Soak rice in a bowl for 30 minutes. Grind the rice with coconut and jaggery into a thin batter, and pour the batter into a thick-bottomed pan and stir for a while, continuously. Pour a little ghee and keep stirring.
When the batter stops sticking to the pan’s sides, transfer it to the banana leaf/greased plate and spread the butter evenly.
Once the batter cools, cut it into squares. To add flavor, place cashew halves on top of the squares.

 Dind

Ingredients:
 
 For stuffing:
 Chickpeas – 100 gm
 Grated jaggery – 100 gm
 Powdered cardamom – 2 pinches
 Powdered Nutmeg – 2 pinches
 Chopped cashews and almonds – 1 tbsp
 Water -2 cups
 
 For the covering:
 Wheat Flour – 100 grams
 Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
A pinch of salt
 Ghee 
 
 Method:
 
For the stuffing:
 
Soak the chickpeas in water for 30 minutes after washing them. Cook the chickpeas in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles.
Drain the water from the chickpeas with a sieve and transfer them to a thick bottomed pan. Add the grated jaggery. On medium or low heat, keep stirring.

Once the mixture thickens, switch off the stove. Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and chopped nut. Mix well.
Once the mixture cools, make it into balls.

For the covering:
 
Heat the vegetable oil and mix with salt and wheat flour.

Add hot oil to the mixture and stir.

Make a stiff dough using some water. Leave it for twenty minutes.

Cover the filling with this mixture like an envelope. Dind is ready to serve.

Patholi
 
Ingredients:
 
 For the stuffing:
 Coconut (grated) – 2 cups
 Jaggery (grated) – 2 cups
Cardamom pods (powdered) – 4
 
 For the rice paste:
 Raw rice – 2 cups
 Poha – 2 cups
Coconut (grated) – 50 gm
 Jaggery (grated) – 1 tbsp
 A pinch of salt
 Banana leaves
 
 Method:
 
Soak the rice for 1-2 hours. Grind it with the coconut, poha, jaggery, and salt. Pour a little water and stir until it makes a smooth paste. Keep it aside.

Mix the coconut and jaggery gratings with the cardamom pods. Crush the ingredients slightly while mixing to release the juices in the coconut and jaggery.

Smear a thin layer of rice paste on the banana leaves. Also, apply a thin layer of the rice paste on the mid-vein of the leaf. This is done so that the stuffing sticks to the middle and doesn’t overflow when the leaf is folded.

Boil water in a vessel. Fold one side of the banana leaves over the other side, length-wise. Press the edges of the leaf slightly so that the paste will stick together and the jaggery will not overflow when melting. One by one, steam all the leaves filled with the rice-stuffing for 10-12 minutes.