Shetpal village, India - where guests are snakes! - strange places 03

Right defense against snakes?

Snake Village-Shetphal, Maharashtra

India, for centuries has often been referred to as the '‘land of snake charmers.  For the westerners, when you make a reference to India, immediately  India's famous snake charmers come to their mind first and their  unorganized  road shows before the medley, jumbled  crowd  on the side walks of Indian towns.The foreigners  do not realize that now India is the 4th largest economy in the world. Further, centuries ago, long before the arrival of Europeans, the standard of living of the Indians was fairly  better than many European nations. However, people were steeped in old traditions and values, besides being superstitious.The Indian economy nosedived when the British had become  masters of the Indian subcontinent and their exploitation of Indian lands and natives continued unabated.
snake charmer and Indian IT charmer.

Shetpal (population roughly 2600 plus), a small sleepy village in Sholapur District of Maharashtra,  goes one step ahead and is  different from   other exciting Indian villages. Unlike other serene  and quiet Indian rural areas,  this nondescript village has an eerie and scary ambiance; new visitors, initially, will hesitate to move around this place which is about 200 km from  Pune, a large metropolitan city. This region, being dry and in the plains,  has lots of snakes of many varieties.  People here at Shetpal  have regular strange, visitors  almost  every  day no body would have dreamed of. Ok, who will come to the houses in this small, remote village for rest and relaxation? If you think that they are either humans or aliens from outer space, you are mistaken. They are  reptilian critters. These visitors  are none other than  Naja Naja - India's  most venomous  snakes - Cobras!!  Does it sound weird?  Yes, it is quite true. Surprisingly,  there has been no major incidence  of cobra bites and death in this village, not withstanding the fact that these reptiles move around the houses freely as if they were members of the families here. The people here do not kill them. Nor do they live in fear, endangering their precious lives. Nope.

Cobra or Naaga  is  synonymous  with the  Hindu  God  Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer, who has "no beginning and no end" (No Aathi and No Andham). Hence, the villagers firmly worship these reptiles and consider them to be sacred, an embodiment  of reverence and  respect. Invariably in all Hindu temples for generations people worship snakes for which there are small shrines with numerous  small snake stone images reverentially installed and they are  worshiped daily by the people.
. Cobra with a hot brew,Shetpal village.

Here  in this village, there  is no  house   that does not have a resting place called devasathan meaning resting  place of Gods-for the cobras. Each house has resting places preferably in the hollow spaces of wooden rafters in the ceiling where these reptiles roost, feel cozy and comfortable.The spaces are good enough for their movement and habitation. If the people here build a new house, they see to it there are comfortable hollow spaces in the new house exclusively  for these visitors. People here walk around the village casually, without fear, among the
snakes as  if  they were pet dogs. The snakes also visit the schools here and sit in the class rooms among the students who don't  show any sign of fear!!  Is it not a spooky  village? May be for us, not for them. Really gutsy people.

If you ever buy a house in this village and settle down, be prepared; these poisonous creatures will drop in on you for 
a cup of milk (and may be an egg or two) and be your companions at night. Perhaps,  you may lose your sleep over them if they come and hiss at you with a raised hood! If  you don't feel comfortable, buy a  six pack  and lie down on the cot. They won't ever bug you.

Tit Bits: Snake temple, Kerala: 

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple at Haripad

Snake stone images in a Hindu temple.

Snake stone images in a Hindu temple.

There is a famous snake temple nestled in a cool wooded area known as Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple at Haripad in Alappuzha district of Kerala, S. India. It is very ancient and internationally known center of pilgrimage for the devotees of serpent gods (Nagaraja).  The installed deity here represents Anantha (Vishnu swaroopa) and Vasuki (Siva in spirit). It is believed to be over 3,000 years old and has more than 100,000  carved  stones with snake images offered by the devotees. The stones with serpent images are also found in the grove nearby.  Childless couples make a  pilgrimage here seeking fertility. Upon the birth of a child, they make a trip to this place with a new snake stone image as offering to be installed there  and conduct thanksgiving ceremonies. A special turmeric powder, which has curative power, is given to the visitors as prasad. A lot of people visit this temple every day. An  interesting fact is this temple is being managed by an  old Namboothiri Brahmin woman 


Snake worship in India,