Nag Panchami is a traditional worship of serpent Gods observed by Hindus throughout India. In Hindu calendar, some days are considered significant to worship serpent Gods and Panchami Tithi especially during Shravan month is considered highly auspicious to worship serpent Gods.
It is believed that any Puja offered to snakes would reach to the serpent Gods. Hence people worship live snakes on the day as representative of serpents Gods who are revered and worshipped in Hinduism. Although there are several serpent Gods, following twelve are worshipped during Nag Panchami Puja -
Ananta (अनन्ता )
Vasuki (वासुकी )
Shesha (शेषा )
Padma (पद्मा )
Kambala (कम्बला )
Karkotaka (करकोटका )
Ashvatara (अश्वत्रा )
Dhritarashtra (धृतराष्ट्रा )
Shankhapala (शङ्खपला )
Kaliya (कालिया )
Takshaka (तक्षका )
Pingala (पिङ्गला )
Nag Panchami Mantra
सर्वे नागाः प्रियान्तां मे ये केचित् पृथिवीतले |
ये च हेलिमरीचिस्था येsन्तरे दिवि संस्थिता: ||
ये नदीषु महानागा ये सरस्वति गामिन :|
ये च वापीतडागेषु तेषु सर्वेषु वै नमः ||
Meaning - May the snakes who are staying in this world, sky, heaven, sun-rays, lakes, wells, ponds etc. bless us and we all salute them.
Nag Panchami Mantra
अनन्तं वासुकिं शेषं पद्मनाभं च कम्बलम् |
शङ्ख पालं धृतराष्ट्रं तक्षकं कालियं तथा ||
एतानि नव नामानि नागानां च महात्मनाम्|
सायङ्काले पठेन्न्तियं प्रातः काले विशेषतः |
तस्य विषभयं नास्ति सर्वत्र विजयी भवेत् ||
Meaning - The names of nine Nag Devtas are Ananta, Vasuki, Shesha, Padmanabha, Kambala, Shankhapala, Dhritarashtra, Takshaka and Kaliya. If chanted regularly every day in the morning, will keep you protected from all evils and make you victorious in life.
Nag Chaturthi :-
Some people keep fast one day before Nag Panchami and fasting day before Nag Panchami is known as Nag Chaturthi or Nagul Chavithi. In Andhra Pradesh Nag Chaturthi or Nagul Chavithi is observed just after Diwali and coincides with six days long festivity of Soora Samharam in Tamil Nadu.
In Gujarat Nag Panchami is observed 15 days later than that of most other states. According to new moon to new moon lunar calendar followed in Gujarat, Nag Panchami falls during Krishna Paksha Panchami of Shravana month. Nag Panchami is more popularly known as Nag Pancham in Gujarat and usually observed three days before Krishna Janmashtami festivities.
Bola Choth or Bol Choth in Gujarat
In Gujarat Bola Choth is celebrated one day before Nag Pancham day. Bola Choth is also known as Bahula Chauth and falls one day before Nag Pancham day. Cattles especially cows are worshipped on Bol Choth day.