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Nagula Chavithi (Telugu: నాగుల చవితి) is an auspicious day to observe Naga Puja. Nagula Chavithi is observed on the fourth day (Chaturthi) after Deepavali Amavasya during Karthika masam. Nag Panchami and Nagasashti are observed after Naga Chaturthi. In some parts of Andhra Pradesh it is also celebrated in the month of Sravana masam.
Nagula Chavithi, a festival to worship Nag Devatas (Serpent Gods), is mainly a women festival. Nagula Chavithi is observed by married women for their wellbeing of their children. During the Chavithi festival, women keep fast and observe Naga Puja. Devotees offer milk and dry fruits to Sarpa Devata at the Valmeekam or Putta (snake pits). On Nag Chaturthi day, Ashtanag (seven hooded cobra) is worshipped.
Nagula Chavithi in Kartika masam is a major festival in Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Karnataka. The rituals and puja procedures are different from place to place. Some people place Naga devatha idol at home and perform puja. But in some places, devotees go to 'Putta' (Snake pit) and offer naivedyam and perform other pujas there
The popular legend associated with Nagula Chavithi in Telugu Hindu culture suggests that on the day Lord Shiva drank the poison Halahala or Kalkuta to save the universe during the famous incident of Samudra Manthan.
Pujas and prayers are held in Naga temples across the state.
Nowadays, Nagula Chavithi day is noted for the notorious practice of offering milk and eggs to the snakes, especially cobras near snake pits. Snake charmers also bring cobras to villages and towns which are fed with milk by devotees. Such practices should not be encouraged as it leads to the death of snakes.
Snakes don’t drink milk but the practice has been encouraged by popular beliefs.
Worship of Nagas is a constant reminder to humans to live in harmony with Nature. And the ideal way to worship Nagas is by protecting the forests and grooves that are home of snakes and other animals.