Cobra worshipping Shiva lingam with bilva leaves – Thenappan

Cobra offering bilva leaves to lingam - 1

Cobra picking a leaf from the bilva tree in the garden of the Vishwanath Shiva Temple at Thepperumanallur in Tanjavur District, Tamil Nadu (left), and carrying it in its mouth to the Shiva lingam through the temple sanctum drain (right). This was witnessed by Sivachariar Satish the temple priest just before the solar eclipse on January 14, 2010 .

Cobra offering bilva leaves to linga - 2

The cobra then went around the vigraha and climbed up the left side of the image, spread its hood  and placed the bilva leaf on top of the lingam. It repeated this a number of times, climbing the bilva tree in the garden and bringing a leaf in its mouth back to the vigraha and placing it on top of the Shiva lingam. When a crowd gathered, the snake hissed at those devotees who got too close to it.

Cobra offering bilva leaves to lingam - 3

The cobra can be seen draped down the Shiva lingam on the right side of the photo, with it hood spread and head resting on top of the image. The ritual practice in this particular Shiva temple is to do archana with rudraksha seeds only, but on this occasion of the solar eclipse the nagaraja did archana with bilva leaves.

According to the temple priest, Sivachariar Satish,  this is the third time the cobra has appeared to do bilva archana on a solar eclipse day.

Many people witnessed this extraordinary event in the Vishwanath Temple at Thepperumanallur village near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. – Photos by Thenappan in Thirunageshwaran. Contributed by Ravishankar in Bangalore.

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