Worshipping History of snakes in Kerala!

Worshipping | History | Snakes | Kerala | 06th July 2022 | Virtual Wire



The literary work Keralolpathi, which discusses Kerala's origins, provides evidence of the history of snake worship in Kerala.

The fabled figure of Parasurama serves as proof that Lord Vishnu in human form has been reclaiming Kerala from the sea. He wanted to prevent the Namboodri Brahmins from settling in Kerala by forming sixty-four villages there with them, who were thereafter attacked by serpents. Parashurama, who was suffering from severe depression travelled to Mount Kailash and appealed to Lord Shiva for relief.

In order to solve his predicament, Lord Shiva instructed Parasurama to consult the serpent, King Vasuki. Vasuki granted his request in exchange for the humans creating a special space in each household for the serpents and performing regular rituals of worshipping them. Otherwise, the snakes and serpents would leave human habitations and relocate to anthills and holes. Because of this, practically every Brahmin has a Sarpa Kavu that the family worships. The song that is sung to appease the snake Gods is called Pulluvan Pattu or Sarpam Pattu.


On the serpent's birthday, Pulluvan and his wife Pulluvati used to go door-to-door and sing. The Pulluvan plays the Naagaveena or Veenakkunju, a violin-like instrument, as the singers sing. The song is also said to cure the youngsters of any evil eye spells. Their method, known as Pampin Thullal, also incorporates the dancing ritual. In order to avoid disturbing the snakes during the monsoon season, this ceremony is connected to the seasons. The Pampin Thullal, which is performed to placate all five varieties of deities, normally lasts for five days, with a different variety being served each day. The five types of serpent deities are listed below:

  • Nagaraja - the king serpent.

  • Naagayakshi - the queen serpent.

  • Karinaagam - the black serpent.

  • Paranaagam - the flying serpent.

  • Anchilamaninaagam - five-hooded and jewel-carrying serpent.

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