Nag Panchami is one of the significant days in Sawan, the auspicious month in the Hindu calendar. It is also one of the oldest festivals celebrated across India. Sawan or Shravan, in the peak rainy season, is dotted with vrats or pujas. Sawan is dedicated to Lord Shiva and devotees observe 'Sawan Somwar' every Monday of the month that corresponds to July-August of the Gregorian calendar.
Nag Panchami is also known as Nag Chaturthi or Nagul Chavithi. In Gujarat, Nag Panchami is observed few days after most states and this year it will be observed on August 8. In Andhra Pradesh, the puja is done just after Diwali.
Nag Panchami timings
Panchami Tithi begins at 2:34 pm on July 24
Panchami Tithi ends at 12:02 pm on July 25
Nag Panchami vrat or puja
Many devotees observe fast and feed the poor on this day. People offer milk to the Nag Devta or the snake god as part of the rituals. People also decorate their houses with rangolis and make kheer as prashad or offering to the god. In India, devotees pray to several snake gods on Nag Panchami. Some among them are Ananta, Vasuki, Shesha, Padma, Kambala and Kaliya.
Nag Panchami and mythology
In Sanskrit, 'Nag' means snake and people worship the snake god to protect their families from the evil. According to mythology, a deadly snake 'Kalia' had been poisoning the waters of the Yamuna, making it difficult for the brijwasis (residents of Brij in Uttar Pradesh), to drink the water. Lord Krishna (an avatar of Lord Vishnu) destroyed Kalia and the snake god was forced to take back the poison from the river. Krishna had blessed him and said, people who pray and offer milk to the snake god on Nag Panchami will always be protected from the evil.