Nag Panchami, the festival of snakes, isn't for the feint of heart! This festival is all about the worship of snakes, which are especially dug out and gathered for the occasion. On the day of Nag Panchami, villagers dance to music and carry the snakes in pots on their heads in procession to the temple. After the rituals are complete, the snakes are taken out from the pots and the temple priest sprinkles haldi-kumkum (tumeric and red powder) and flowers on their raised heads. The snakes are offered plenty of milk and honey, then set free in the temple courtyard.
The surprising thing about Nag Panchami is that although the venomous fangs aren't removed from the snakes, they're not known to bite anyone. Special care is taken of the snakes in the lead up to the festival. They're pampered with a diet of fresh milk and rats.
Nag Panchami takes places every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Hindu month Shravan (July or August). You'll be able to see more snake charmers than usual out on the streets of India during the festival.
How to Get There: Nag Panchami is mostly held in rural areas, particularly Battis Shirala village, Maharastra. It's located 400 kilometers (approximately 250 miles) from Mumbai, in between Kolhapur and Sangli in Maharashtra’s Sangli district. Reportedly, the largest collection of snakes in the world can be found there, and people from all over the world flock to worship them. Other popular places where Nag Panchami is celebrated include Adiesha Temple in Andhra Pradesh, Nagaraja Temple in Kerala, Nagathamman Temple in Chennai, and Hardevja Temple in Jaipur.