Nagamandala, also referred to as Nagaradhane is a multi-day festival and worship program in honor of the snake god. Nagamandala is commonly held in Coastal Karnataka districts.
Nagamandala is held to show respect towards snakes, particularly King Cobra and create awareness about their significance. The ritualistic style is known to be performed by the Vaidya community members wherein they dance around an intricate mandala which is said to symbolise the energy and spirit of serpents, drawn to the floor.
Major highlights of Nagamandala
- Nagabanas: Nagamandala ritual is often centered around Nagabana, of snake homes, location inside local farms and forests where snakes build their nests.
- The ritual: Nagamandala ritual celebrates the union of male and female snakes. Rituals are performed by two priests, one enacts male snake while the other female snake. Ritual involves rigorous dances and moves. Some of the rituals continue till early morning hours.
- Decorations: Areas around Nagabana are extensively decorated with natural colours and designs. A ‘chappara’ or temporary roof made of coconut leaves is often laid to give some respite from intense heat.
Most Nagamandala programs are held with support of a local sponsor. Program runs for several days and involves feeding thousands of guests each day, hence is deemed an expensive affair.
Where to witness Nagamandala:
Nagamandala program details are advertised in local media. When in coastal Karnataka, scan local newspapers for any upcoming Nagamandala program or take help from your host. Nagamandala is open to all and all visitors are served with meals and prasada.