Nagmandala from Mangalore, Karnataka by Dr. Deviprasad Rao, Mumbai
These are from an event called Nagmandala, a ritual followed in the Mangalore state Karnataka. Nagmandala is a colorful event done to appease the snake god Cobra. It's done basically by brahmins. Maybe Snakes are considered as guardians and protect the fields from rodents. The event has a stage which is beautifully decorated by all sides by flowers. In the center is a big 5 colored rangoli depicting the Snake god Cobra. The event is attended by thousands of people sitting for 3 hrs at a stretch. All facilities with food throughout the day for the attendees are arranged by the village and the organizers mainly the temple.
It starts with a procession leading to the stage after praying at Snake temple called as NAGABANA.
Here the ritual with dance starts with priests depicting a male and female serpents. A person depicting the female serpent is called Nagakannika and the male partner called as Navaratri. Female partner dances round the male partner in serpent design and they both take clockwise and later anti-clockwise pradakshina of the Rangoli on the holy stage. A person depicting the female serpent is beautifully dressed and uses a damru while two more people with Naganartaka half male and female dress accompany and sing songs related to the event in Kannada . The main priest depicting the male serpent inhales Betel palm flowers all through the dance.