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| Last Updated:: 24/08/2023













Scientific name


Naja Naja Linn


Common name


Snake / Indian Cobra








Naga / Sarpah




Throughout India (excluding the Northeast), at habitats from sea level up to 2000 metres


Religious association









Snake worship is more common in rural areas than in urban.The naga is associated with almost every Hindu deity like Ganesha Goddess Durga, Varuna, Lord Shiva, Kartikeya and Vishnu.
















The serpent-king Muchalinda protected Gautama from a raging storm, as he meditated beneath the bodhi tree, by spreading its hood while he was meditating.
















The icon of Jain Tirthankara Parshvanatha is identified by the cobra behind his head or at the base of his pedestal.

















In Kerala, every tharavad or matrilineal home has a sarpa kavu or snake grove at the back, where the spirits of the ancestors are propitiated.







Goddess Manasa










The people of Assam also worship the snake goddess Manasa, a form of Shakti. The tribes of north-east India have various forms of snake worship. 













Source: “Sacred Animals Of India” by  Nanditha Krishna, (Penguin Book India, 2010)