Each village in India has a culture, colours and a different story to tell. India is throbbing with diversity and has so many unique traditions and rituals. One of them is the worship of snakes, especially the ‘Cobra’ and there are tales of reptiles in the form of both God and devil. Every year in “Nag Panchami” thousands of Indians worship and feed the snakes to receive spiritual blessings.
Shetpal(or Shetphal) often referred to as the “Land of snakes” is a village where snakes have a permanent abode in each and every house. And we’re not referring to just any common snake. Here we are talking about the “deadly cobra”. They are worshipped in every heart and every home in this village. Does it sound weird? Yes, but it’s adventurous at the same time.
Fascinating facts about the Shetpal Village
Even the smallest of families in this village has a specific area named “Devsthan” assigned where the snake may come and take rest and bless the family. People fearlessly move along with them and treat them as a member of the family. They are treated as pets in the village and even visit the class during school hours. And guess what? The children do not fear these visitors as they have been raised to hang around fearlessly with the snakes.
The kids sometimes play with the snakes when bored. You must be wondering whether there has been any incident of snake bites in the village, but astonishingly the answer is “no”. Till date, not a single incident of snake bite has been reported in the village. The people never kill the snakes nor do they live in fear. Whenever the villagers build a home, they never forget to build a hollow place for the resting of the snakes.
Significance of Snakes in our Culture
Cobra or Naga acts as a garland around the neck of Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer. The creature represents birth, rebirth and death because of shedding of its skin. It is also the symbol of fertility. Therefore, the villagers worship these crawling creatures and consider them to be sacred, an incarnation of reverence and respect. The locals believe that it is their duty to provide food and shelter to the snakes. For generations, people have been worshipping small snake shrines installed in temples.
Places to Visit near Shetpal
1. Vithoba Temple: It is a Hindu temple in Pandharpur located in the district of Sholapur. The diety Vithoba is a form of the God Krishna or Vishnu. All the worshippers are allowed to touch the feet of the idol. It is the first temple in India which has women and people from backward classes as priests.
2. An Agritourism centre in Solapur: It is the best picnic point in Solapur district. It is located at 13km on Solapur-Pune highway. If you are with your family and looking for a place to relax and enjoy then do visit this place. This place will soothe your mind, body and soul. Adults and children can both equally enjoy here.
3. Sidheshwar Temple: People believe that the supreme being has the power to cure snake bites. Victims are brought from different villages to this temple and left in the sanctum sanctorum for the cure. The temple has a copper image of seven-hooded cobra over a Shiva idol.
How to Reach
The Shetpal (also known as the land of snake charmers) is a small sleepy village, located in the Sholapur district is different from other exciting Indian villages. It is 200km away from Pune, Maharashtra. It is 348km apart from the capital city Mumbai. This mundane village has a spectral and scary ambience. The region being dry and in plains welcomes many varieties of snakes. The village has regular visitors but there has been no complaint of getting harmed by the creatures.
Nearby towns like Solapur, Pandharpur, Mangalvedhe, Kurduvadi, Barshi are connected by road to Shetpal.
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport is Pune International Airport. You can hire a cab from the airport to Shetpal.
Nearest Railway station: Shetpal is located at a distance of 350 km from Mumbai and 200km from Pune. The nearest railway station is Modnimb Railway station. The station is situated at a distance of approximately 13.5 km from Shetpal.
Best Time to Visit Shetpal Village
The best time to explore the city is during the month of October to March. Winter provides pleasant weather conditions for the trip and is very comfortable.
If you ever visit this place, my advice would be, be careful! Thought almost two thousands of the village population do not bother. The well-preserved culture and traditions of the village bring in a lot of visitors from all around the country as well as international visitors.
If you ever visit the place, don’t be surprised if a snake drops at your door for a cup of milk.