Naga Worship in Ancient Kashmir

Pooja Prashar


Regarding the exact date when the snake-cult was prevalent in the land, no direct testimony is available. But there are geological and mythological reasons to believe that in the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE, it might have been the principal religion of Kashmir. Nagas were eminently popular deities and was heresy of ancient Kashmir people. From early times, considerable importance must have been attached to their worship, as is proved by the long account given of them in the oldest book of valley, NilmataPurana along with the numerous temples erected near the famous springs, and the popularity and undoubtedly ancient origin of the worship directed to the latter. The belief in Nagas was fully flourishing also in the Rajatarangini of Kalhana, which in many places has not ceased to pay a kind of folklore respect and fetish worship to these deities. The popular concept of the Nagas, of ancient period represent them under the form of snakes, living in the water of the springs or lake protected by them. Nagas are depicted in different inscriptions in different forms like creator, destroyer and propitiators. The methodology of this research paper will include the collection of primary data and second step will be the analytical description through comparative study. Through comparative study efforts will be made to shed light on this aspect of the traditional history of Ancient Kashmir.

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