Naga (snake) Pratishta (establishment) is commonly done in India to get rid of ‘Naga Dosha’  – an Indian term that refers to issues concerned with fertility, child birth or other ill omen relating to the child’s future. The only ironic thing is that this is predicted by Astrologers!

snake statues for fertility - naga pratishta - indiaIn this particular Naga Pratishta there are four snakes. The one on the left is a 7 headed snake (adi-shesha or sheshnag). The middle 5-headed snake has an idol of Subramanya (considered the god of snakes) below its hood. On the right there are two snakes intertwined with a Shiva Linga in the middle. Snakes intertwine only while mating, its anyones guess why mating snakes are depicted here!

Snake statues - naga pratishta
During a visit to a relative’s place in Coorg, last November, I came across these snake statues established at their farm’s backyard. They had established the Snake statues in the belief of ensuring a good future to their family’s second child.

Lord Subramanya under Shesha Naga

Lord Subramanya is considered as the the god of snakes

Lord Subramanya

One might wonder how an age old custom like Naga Pratishta has survived this long. I believe that if a custom has to survive the test of time it has to be proven and the people should have seen results by following it.

Five headed Shesha naga (snake)

Shesha Naga sheltering Lord Subramanya

Here is an excerpt from an article which gives a logical explanation to this custom.

In most of the cases women of soft constitution are liable to be barren. Indian women do not have the benefit of outdoor exercises except when they go round on annual tours of pilgrimage. So some sort of exercise is of absolute necessity for them to shake off their barrenness. Generally women belonging to the working classes have many children born to them whereas those belonging to the richer classes are barren and if at all they bring forth issues, they are few and not enough strong as compared to the children of the working classes. The wise preceptors of the rich people in bygone days wanted to give the rich ladies some sort of exercise coupled with a mental attitude favourable for child-bearing. Religious belief was pressed into service.

To read more, follow this link.

Huge Shiva linga at KotilingeshwaraYou might also like my article on Kotilingeshwara. Kotilingeshwara is home to the worlds largest Shiva linga and has more than 33 lakhs Shiva lingas established within its premises.

Anoop Hullenahalli

An Electronics Engineer working on wireless embedded systems for a living. Traveling, photographing and sharing my experiences here at ANUBIMB helps me unwind and break the monotony of life.


Sreeknaidu · 11 Oct ’11 at 5:36 am

Excellent article.. and very good images of Naga Swamy .. very commendable effort

SK · 11 Oct ’11 at 6:00 am

Hi Anoop,

Great article and the photos.. wow you are an amazing photographer .. 
Anoop need some help from you, We have a snake temple here at our home and we are planning to install the naga sculptors which is what brought me to your site, the sculptors are extremely good , would you be able to help us give the address from where your relatives got it sculpted ??

Appreciate your help

    Anoop · 11 Oct ’11 at 6:43 am

    Thanks for your appreciation. Indeed the sculptures are really well made and are actually more than 10 years old.
    I will try and get the details of the sculptor and pass the details by email.

vijayaraghavan · 25 May ’16 at 3:31 pm

It is seen that Nagas are without any shelter over its head. Is it customary or any ahastras speak about it, to keep them with out any shelter on the top.

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