Snake Charmers and India

ladybird By ladybird, 9th Dec 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Off Beat

Snakes abound in India and at one time snake charmers were used to trap snakes. They are now a dying breed

Snakes and Charmers: Indian speciality

For centuries during the days of the British Raj, India was known as the land of snake charmers and sadhus who performed the proverbial rope trick. One reason for this was the abundance of snakes especially the deadly cobra, which incidentally is revered in Hinduism and thus not to be killed. It was important to trap the cobra and not kill it, thus snake charmers came in handy. These snake charmers had special conch shells which they blew and enticed the snakes to come out of their den. The snakes were then skillfully caught by the snake charmer and put in a basket.

A snake charmer is a specialist person and his conch shell has a peculiar vibration that entices the snake to come out. He is also a sort of snake doctor. The snake charmer had the ability to draw out the poison from a human who had been bitten by a snake. Thus most villagers rushed to a snake charmer whenever any one of them was bitten by a snake. Generally the snake charmer made an incision in the body and drained out the poison. It was a painful, but effective method. India still abounds in snakes and is home to the deadliest of their variety the King Cobra. This has not changed.

Snake charmers are now a dying breed though one can see them in village fairs, but they are very few now. If one wants to see a snake charmer now in India one will have to go to the remote countryside and maybe you will be able to see one. Presently the old reference to India as a land of snake charmers and magical rope trick is no longer valid. But I will say it gives a great thrill to read about snake charmers even now, though the breed is almost extinct.

Many western scientists have tried to duplicate the conch shell of the snake charmer, but failed. This is hard to explain as the snake charmers make their conch shells at home. But they emit a particular frequency of vibration that is ‘ heard’ by the snake and so the snake comes out of its den. I saw a snake charmer once on a trip to Rajasthan. It was at a fair in Barmer and it was a great thrill to see the cobra come out from its abode towards the snake charmer who would catch it by the neck. However killing snakes or the Cobras is taboo in Hinduism and many tribal sects worship the snake as a god. The snake god Visaka is also part of Hindu mythology.


Cobras And Snake Charmers, India And Snakes, King Cobra, Snake Charmers

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I am a lawyer who is fond of riding and active sports

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
9th Dec 2015 (#)

Thanks for sharing your article. I found it to be very interesting. I wonder why there are so many snakes in India? Snakes scare me and I'm not crazy about spiders either.

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author avatar ladybird
10th Dec 2015 (#)

Dear Nancy, India is very rich in wild life and along with snakes herds of elephants and many tigers roam the wilds. Thanks for commenting

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author avatar Ken5-89
10th Dec 2015 (#)

This is an interesting article. I would like to see this snake charmer for myself.

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