The festival of Nag Panchami is an auspicious day that falls on the fifth day of Shravan according to the Hindu Calendar and is celebrated by individuals throughout the country. The festival is held annually at the Nag Mandir to worship the Serpent deity. During Nag Panchami, many people flock to Patnitop as it is one of the most famous places for celebrating the snake festival.
Over 600-year-old Nag Mandir is nestled amidst lush greenery and snow clad mountain ranges. During the Nag Panchami Festival, pilgrims come from near and far to worship at the temple by honouring idols and images of the snake deity to seek goodwill.
Date of Nag Panchami Festival
Saturday, 25th July 2020.
Traditions and Festivities at Nag Panchami
On the fifth day of Shravan, when the festival of Nag Panchami is held, people from religions gather and pay their respects to the snakes in their unique ways. It is not uncommon to see people fasting for the day, and special poojas are held in all temples and homes throughout the day.
Alternatively, many conservative Hindu households make it a point not to fry food during this day. Digging the earth is also forbidden in many religions as it is believed that it disturbs the snakes lying there. Idols of the Naga are also worshipped across Patnitop.
Other regions in India dig up live snakes from the earth which are then kept in pots and fed rats, milk and honey in copious amounts. The snakes are also treated with the utmost respect and are not harmed in any way, even if it is to remove the poisonous part of the snake.
Snake charmers are also a common occurrence throughout the country, and many individuals and devotees perform the famous snake dance. A place called Baltis Shirale which is located 400 kilometres from Mumbai is known as one of the most famous places in India to witness all these sacred traditions.
The Legend Behind Nag Panchami
The festival of Nag Panchami’s origin goes as far back as the legend of Lord Krishna. According to this legend, during his childhood, Lord Krishna was attacked by the Naga Kaliya. However, when Kaliya realised that Lord Krishna is, in fact, a god, he was quick to retreat, and Lord Krishna triumphed in his wake.
Carvings on the walls of ancient caves portray the rituals that are practised by many during Nag Panchami and hint to the age-old practices of this festival. Other sources also say that the festival is held to worship the five nagas or in many cases to appease the snakes who have always been poisonous to humans.
In many cases, people believe that the Shravan time is also significant to the festivals occurrence. This is because July or August is the time where most of the harvest is procured and since the process is labour intensive, the individuals are exposed and at a much higher risk of snake bites during this time. The people thus put their beliefs in religion and concurred that praying to the snake god is the only way to ensure good health and protection.
About Nag Mandir
The Nag Mandir is the most famous temple of Patnitop and expects a huge footfall during the day of Nag Panchami. The mandir dates back more than 600 years and lies on a hilltop where it proudly stands, weathered from the natural calamities but still standing tall. This Mandir is considered not only the oldest but also the holiest place due to legends claiming that it was this place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were joined in marriage.
Many individuals visit the Nag Mandir in the hope that their wishes will be fulfilled or add to the thousands of red ribbons to secure a miracle which is a story often tied to the temple. The wooden temple contrasts well with the lush green scenery of the hilltop as well as the snow-capped mountains in the near distance.
Monday to Sunday: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
How to Reach
By Air: The closest airport to Patnitop is the Jammu Airport. By Rail: The closest railway stations from Patnitop are the Jammu Railway Station and the Udhampur Railway Station. By Road: Patnitop lies at a distance of 110 kilometres from the city of Jammu and can be reached by both taxis and private vehicles.