Nagpanchami festival is a traditional prayer towards snakes performed by Hindus in whole India and Nepal.It is performed on th 5th day of Shravanmasum (July-August),according to the Hindu calender. Naga-lok is the region for nagas,as a part of the creation and to get blessings for the welfare of the family.On this day snakes made of silver,stone or wood or paining done on wall are given bath(abhishekam) with milk.
In literature Kashyapa,son of Lord Brahma,the creator had four wifes and his 3rd wife was Kadroo who belonged to the Naga race of the pitru loka.She gave birth to Nagas,and rest of the three gave birth to Devas,Garuda and Daityas.In Mahabharath story Astika the brahmin son of jaratkarus,who has stopped the Sarpa Satra of Janamejaya(King of Kuru empire) for 12 years.Yagna was performed by Janamejaya to eradicate all the snakes,while death of his father Parikshit by a snake byte.The yagna was stopped and the day was shukla paksha panchami of shravan month,the snakes were also saved from sarpa satra yagna.Since,then this day is observed as nag panchami.
In History ,it is mentioned that Sarpa Satra(snake) has sacrificed where Ashtika,a young Brahmin stops his yagna.In the Mahabaratha epic janamejaya, son of king Parikshit of the Kuru dynasty was sacrificing snack known as Sarpa Satra,to take the revenge for the death of his father who died due to snack bite.A fire place has been arranged so that to kill all the snakes in the Universe,by a galaxy of brahmin sages.In the presence of Janamejaya was so powerful that is why all the snakes were falling into the fire by force.One left was Takshaka snake,who was hiding beside God Indra when sages had increased the prayers Takshaka along with Indra was being draged to the fire.All the other Devas requested the Manasadevi to solve their problem,she sent her son named Astika.astika requested the Janamejaya to stop his Yagna and also he made a good impression by letting Janamejaya knowledge of all shastras.Now Janamejaya was very much convinced with the Astikas words and stopped his Sarpa Satra and also taken a promise to protect the Brahmins who performed the Yagna.Thus life of Indra God and
Takshaka was saved.They were very much thankful to Manasadevi for her help.According to the Hindu
calender,5th day during shravan month is being celebrated as Nagpanchami as on this day their life’s were saved.
According to Garuda purana, praying to snakes on this day is very auspicious and can get rid of many riddles of their life,giving food to any brahman is notted.
On this day nagas,snakes and cobras are prayed with milk,sweets,flowers, lamps and with following
naga preeta bhavanti shantimapnoti via viboh
sashanti lok ma sadhya modate shashttih samh
Fasting is maintained and food is given to brahmin.As in many places real snakes are being prayed.