Naag Panchami: Jammu's Dogra community is a fervent worshiper of the serpent god

Naag Panchami is being celebrated in Dogra households today. Figures of serpents adorn walls and special Dogra delicacies such as babroo, deliya, maal pude, rutt and keyur are cooked up. People also visit temples dedicated to Naag Devta.

Manu KhajuriaManu Khajuria   1 Sep 2022 9:51 AM GMT

Naag Panchami: Jammus Dogra community is a fervent worshiper of the serpent god

Figures of serpents adorn walls and special Dogra delicacies are cooked up. All photos: @KhajuriaManu/Twitter

The Dogra community of Jammu region in Jammu & Kashmir is celebrating the festival of Naag Panchami today, September 1.

While the rest of India celebrates Naag Panchami in the Shravan month, Dogras celebrate this festival, dedicated to the worship of serpent gods, on the panchami (fifth day) of Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapad month as per the Hindu calendar.

Naag pujan is an ancient practice in Jammu and all Dogra households pray to the serpent gods. They do naag chitarna – drawing naag (male cobra), naagin (female cobra), bicchu (scorpio), kronkal (centipede), and offer prasad to the serpent gods.

On this day, illustrations of Naag, Nagin, Bicchu Kronkal are drawn and worshipped.

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Symbols depicting Naag Devta are drawn in the kitchen. Usually five pairs are drawn. A centipede, scorpion and God Garuda are also drawn. In some Dogra households, clay snakes are also brought. While in others, serpentine images are drawn on front door.

Not only are the snakes revered as deities but also believed to have ruled the land.

In the Jammu region, there are several temples dedicated to Naag Devtas, the most famous being the Vasuki Naag temple in Bhaderwah. Not only are Naags revered as deities but also believed to have ruled the land. For instance, Vasuki Maharaj ji, Shesh Naag ji, Baba Surgal Dev ji.

Worship of Naag Devta is intrinsic to the Dogra culture and it is depicted in the traditional Basholi paintings.

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Kheer, Babroo, maal pude, draupdan, rutt, keyur are cooked for the festival celebrations.

To celebrate Naag Panchami, Dogra households prepare local delicacies like kheer, babroo, churi, meri, siya, deliya, maal pude, draupdan, rutt, keyur, etc. The prasad is usually distributed in the community after puja. Many people go to areas where the snakes live and offer dalasi (milk and water) and prasad to Naag Devta.

There is also a tradition of kanjak puja (kanya pujan) on Naag Panchami in Jammu. On this day, married women are also invited to their parents' home where they are offered Dogra delicacies like mairi, keyur, mitthe babroo, kheer, chillariyan, and auriya (potato dish) with puri.

Langar (community feasts) is also organised at several temples on Naag Panchami.

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