Sunday, February 13, 2011

NAAGA MANDALA




SNAKE WORSHIP RITUALS

Nagamandala Is A Quaint Ritual Prevalent Mainly In Coastal Karnataka Region (Dakshina Kannada District And Udupi District). It Is An All-Night Ritual Performed As A Worship To The Serpent God.
Observed Mostly By The Brahmins, Nagamandala Is Performed During December To April, Before The Monsoon. There Are Two Groups Of Performers In Nagamandala – The First Being 'Paatri' (A Brahmin) Who After Inhaling The Areca Flowers Gets Possessed By The Cobra God, And The Second Group Is Known As 'Naagakannika' Identified As 'Ardhanari' Who Dances And Sings Around An Elaborate Serpent Design Drawn With Natural Colors On The Sacred Ground.
The 'Vaidya' Community Group Draws The Designs (A Circle Of Snakes) On The Sacred Ground Using Five Different Colors. The Five Colors Are White (White Mud), Red (Mix Of Lime Powder And Turmeric Powder), Green ('Jangama Soppu' Green Leaves Powder), Yellow (Turmeric Powder) And Black (Roasted And Powdered Paddy Husk). The Combination Of These Five Colors Is Called As 'Panchavarnahudi' In The Local Dialect.
Sarpam Tullal Of Kerala Are The Counter Parts Of Nagamandala.The Snake Worship Rituals Practised In Tulu Nadu Are Quite Unique And Different To The Aforementioned Rituals. Snakes Have Their Own Snake Shrines In A Corner Of The Garden, Often Under A Neem Tree Known As Nagabhana. This Is Usually A Stone With Snakes Carved On It. Accordingly, Nobody Is Allowed To Chop The Tree Near The Nagabhana. It Is Also Believed That, Snakes, Specifically The Cobras Are Not Be Harmed Or Killed By Anyone. If Harmed, The Individual Has To Perform A Ritual To Cleanse The Sin Of Killing/Harming The Snake. The Belief Is That The Individual Who Refuses To Perform The Ritual Will Be Cursed By The Snake For Eternity. It Can Also Be Noted That In Tulu Nadu Or The South Canara Region In Karnataka, Agriculture Is Predominant That Too Paddy Is The Main Crop. In These Fields Snakes Help In Saving The Crop From Rodents. This Can Be A Plausible Reason For Worship Of Snakes In Line With Other Nature Worships Such As Cow And The Banyan Tree.
Nagamandala Ritual In Progress:
Nagamandala Depicts The Divine Union Of Male And Female Snakes. It Is Generally Performed By Two Priests. The First Priest, Called As Paatri Inhales The Areca Flower And Becomes The Male Snake. The Second Priest, Called As Nagakannika Or The Female Snake Dances And Sings Around An Elaborate Serpent Design Drawn With Natural Colours On The Sacred Ground. The Ritual Is Supplemented By Playing An Hour Glass Shaped Instrument Called As Dhakke. The Drawings In Five Different Colours On The Sacred Ground Are White (White Mud), Red (Mix Of Lime Powder And Turmeric Powder), Green (Green Leaves Powder), Yellow (Turmeric Powder) And Black (Roasted And Powdered Paddy Husk).
The Ritual, Centered Around The Serpent Design, Continues Till Early In The Morning........
Such was an occasion witnessed by us, last night at Padu Kere, Saligrama,,,,, Hosted by Ravindra Aithala and family. ....... Massive and elaborate arrangement for food, seating, entertainment and decoration...... The scene is mesmerizing .......
returned home by 1.30 a.m.
Sun,13 feb

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