Since ages in India, Snakes, especially the “Cobra” has been worshiped and there are tales of the reptile in the form of both God and devil. You find references of snakes as God whenever you talk of “Lord Shiva”. You find Lord Krishna’s reference in killing the “Kalia Naag”, which was a snake with multiple heads. The famous Indian Epic Ramayana has a reference of a “Naag Lok”, meaning a place where all the snakes live. People worship the snakes and take blessings so much so that in India there is a festival which is dedicated to snakes called – Nag Panchami.
Whatever you hear in terms of worshiping snakes is all occasional but imagine you doing the worshiping every day that also with the snakes always with you in real. Shocking but true, that’s what happens in the remote village of Shetpal, which is located at the Mohol Taluka of Sholapur District, Maharashtra. This village with a very small population of 2650 plus, is about 200 kms away from Pune. The origin of the practice of worshiping snakes, here in this village is unknown, but still, people have a special place for these reptiles in their hearts and houses.
The belief is so strong here in this village that even the smallest of families in the area has a specific, designated place in the house where the snake may come and rest. Each house has this “Devasthan” especially meant for the snake/ cobra to visit and take rest and bless the family. The designated place is normally in a hollow space on the ceiling. The cobras roam around in the village very freely and amazingly nobody screams, shouts, or has any fear for them.
Kids of the village sometimes play with the cobra. People, here in Shetpal not only worship these cobras but also love them. They fearlessly move along with them and it is a daily routine that snakes are found in the rooms of the house. The snakes even enter the classrooms of the schools and the children, without any terror or any distress stay where they are. Villagers if construct a new house in the village, make sure that the “Devasthan” is built properly, spacious enough for the snake to rest comfortably.
A question immediately hits the mind that if at the entire snakes move around freely and people allow this to happen, then there must be a lot of snake bite cases in the village. The astonishing fact is till date not even a single case of snake bite has been reported.
The famous Image of India as the country of “Snake Charmers” comes to in the mind the moment such extraordinary fact comes to light. The fact of the matter may be scientifically described. The presence of so many snakes at one place can be due to the dry weather conditions and the free habitation along with humans may be because both of them respect each other and do not interfere in anybody’s lifestyles.
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