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Forgotten tradition of Nag Panchami wall art and home-based worship
In some interior villages of Rajasthan, Nag Panchami is still celebrated by creating a contextual wall art or 'mandana' and worshiping it at the family level. However, in most villages now the trend has almost disappeared. Earlier, festival motifs and wall paintings were a part of family life education and social learning in rural and tribal areas.

In the traditional Nag Panchami, wall painting on a mud wall in tribal and interior rural communities, predominantly women have honed their Mandana or wall painting skills by learning from the elders without any formal training. The objective has been to practice simple aesthetics on festivals to create reverence-filled home environment for worship at the family level.

It is said that due to socio-economic development, creation of pucca or cemented houses, spread of formal education and market-propelled festival observances and social distortions this art form has tremendously suffered.

The modern literate generation has no time and inclination to mess about in mud anyway which is the background material for such paintings and tradition is dying out.

Mandana art has always been symbolic visual art of festive and religious occasions sanctified by simple line drawings. Mandana drawings were done on mud-layered walls with a portion of homes colored with Geru and line drawings done in white chalk or lime. It always has simplified presentation of motifs related to the occasion. The internal filling of the body of the form is only textural.

On the occasion of Nag Panchami, a square shape is drawn with a triangle at the top. The vertical sides have hands like depictions while the base line has feet like drawings. Five snakes are shown in the square decorated with stars as shown in the picture below.

Nag Panchami, celebrated this year on August 1, was marked worship of snakes or serpents observed by Hindus in India and Nepal. The worship is offered on the fifth day of bright half of Lunar month of Shravan calendar. It is believed that offering prayers to snakes on this day is auspicious to usher good tidings in one's life.


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