05-10-2017 01:30 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
An unbelievable village that slithers
Shetpal, also called the Land of Snakes is a remote village in Sholapur district of Maharashtra. It is at a distance of 200 km from Pune with a population of around 2,500. What makes this place unique is the people’s engagement with snakes.
Shetpal village is the only place in India where humans and snakes dwell amicably. Such is the reverence for snakes here, that not only are they worshipped, but they also have a special place in people’s hearts and houses.
No matter how small the house is, there will certainly be a special space for snakes to come and rest. This space is termed ‘ Devasthan’ and residents look forward to the snakes to visit and bless them. Usually, the Devasthan would be a hollow space in the ceiling. It is truly very strange that venomous cobras roam freely in the village and none of them screams or is afraid of them.
It is a common sight to see kids of the village play with cobras. The snakes not only move about freely in houses, but also enter classrooms in schools without even causing a stir. There is no fear or terror at all! The villagers love snakes so much that they ensure that the Devasthan in their homes is spacious enough for snakes to rest comfortably.
Cobra or Naaga is synonymous with the Hindu God Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer, who has "no beginning and no end" (No Aathi and No Andham). Hence, the villagers firmly worship these reptiles and consider them to be sacred. They are treated with reverence and love.
There is also a temple named Siddheshwar temple in Solapur. Locals believe that the deity has the power to cure snake bites and victims are often brought to this temple and left in the sanctum sanctorum to be cured. The temple boasts of a copper image of a seven-hooded cobra over a sacred Shiva idol.
One may wonder if there were cases of snakebites in Shetpal village. It is an astonishing fact that not a single case of snakebite has been reported in this village. This only proves that animals and humans are meant to exist harmoniously. They mean no harm to us as long as we do not hurt them in any way.
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