'Shetpal village', Maharashtra where Cobras and people live in harmony!!

 Have you ever heard of a nondescript village in Maharashtra called Shetpal  (population: about 2600) where the snakes - dreaded cobras have a free run?   They  walk/ rather crawl casually without any fear as if they were the real denizens of this village. Nor do the villagers including kids  fear about them.  As they get fed regularly and  there is no dearth  of food, it is a quiet place for them to roost and be at peace with themselves. Roughly 200 miles  away from the city of Pune in this hamlet snakes have found a permanent abode in each house and are coexisting with the residents.


Cobra with a hot brew,Shetpal village. forums.soompi.com

The entire stretch of this place is  an  open sesame for the critters and both  reptiles and people live there in harmony and pose no threat to each other.  To one's astonishment, every household  has a ''devasthanam'' (abode of the deity), a place  for the snakes to reside calmly.  Sometimes, accidentally  snakes get into the near-by school and neither the teachers nor the students  get perturbed over them.  The sight of  venomous snakes does not bother them  when the class is in  progress and the students  keep focusing on the subject being taught. The children are brought up from early stages of their childhood  not to fear snakes. 

It has been  a religious tradition in India among the Hindus to worship snakes  on account their link with God Shiva. The Nag Panchami festival is an annual event and, on that day, people in large numbers, particularly women   in Indian villages worship and feed the snakes to receive divine blessings. The superstition still persists in remote places.


Above image: Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day in the month of shravana (July/August), as per the Hindu calendar. On this day, women worship Nag Devta and offer milk to snakes and pray for the welfare and well being of their families and relatives..... 

Cobra or Naaga  is  synonymous  with the  Hindu  God  Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer, who has "no beginning and no end." The other trinity God Vishnu  sleeps on the coiled bed of a  huge snake with a large hood  called Adhiseshan. 

Countless Hindu temples have clusters of small stone carved images of snake lined along the  prakara (prathakshana path).  Childless women are known to pray to Nag Devta for child and if  their wish  is fulfilled the couple will set the stone image of a  snake in the temple after certain rituals. The snake temple at Haripad, in Alappuzha district of Kerala, S. India is a popular one. Childless women come here in large number and this ancient temple has the largest number of stone images of snake - more than 30000 in and around the temple -  a whooping number. The belief in snake worship is deep routed in Indian women. 

Amazing thing about Shetpal village is there has been no incident of any snake bite. It is a riddle.