Tonk (Rajasthan) [India], Sept. 16 : Rajasthan celebrated a unique snake festival at Veer Teja temple on September 15 in which devotees willingly received snakebites in order to bring good fortune.
Hundred of devotees, from across the nation, every year gather at the temple of Veer Teja, a legendary folk hero, in Tonk town of Rajasthan to celebrate this festival.
Teja is considered to be one of the eleven incarnations of Lord Shiva and worshipped as a deity in rural Rajasthan.
Devotees sang and danced to the sounds of drums and instruments, holding snakes in their hands and receiving their bites.
It is believed that the snake bites cures ailments and bring good fortune. "This festival is celebrated since ancient times. Huge crowd gather to mark the festival of Tejaji. People come from far off lands and locals in huge numbers gather here to be a part of the festivities.
During the festival, devotees receive snake bites, but nothing happens to the person," said Lakshmi one of the devotee.
"People from the entire district have gathered here to celebrate the festival. People from nearby places have assembled here. Devotees also travel 300 kilometres to celebrate the festival. It is a belief that if you receive a snake bite, your diseases will get cured," said another devotee. It is widely believed that offering prayers to serpents would help devotees attain salvation. As per the Hindu mythology, it is believed that people who have negative stars in their birth chart should pour milk on snakes and release them into forests.