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A Bait Believers Ready to Bite (standard:non fiction, 488 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Oct 24 2015Views/Reads: 1098/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
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A Bait Believers Ready to Bite 

Red ants build high-rise dirt mounds as nests by digging deep into the
ground and bringing out soil particle one by one. Once built, these 
dirt mounds as high as five feet can be visible from a distance in 
rural open areas outside the urban sprawl in India. According to 
folklore, wondering snakes looking for nests to rest, drive the ants 
from their nests to make their own. Whether snakes really live in the 
ant mounds or not, they come to symbolize as snake nests. Snake is 
sacred to Hindus; it is feared and worshipped at the same time. There 
are temples dedicated to worship snake god across the country. Nagula 
Chavithi is an annual Hindu ceremony to celebrate Snake God. On the day 
of celebration, devotees line up from early morning at the temples to 
worship snake god. They offer milk and fruits to the deity for 
forgiveness and protection from the calamities and evil. The worship at 
the temples conducted the by Hindu priests was more traditional with 
chanting and rituals. Some devotees however prefer to worship the live 
snakes in their natural habitat. They travel distances to nearby 
villages known to have snake nests. They pour milk and drop eggs into 
the nests for snakes to devour the offerings. People in rural areas 
with ant mounds on their fields become entrepreneurs for that day 
encouraging the devotees to visit the dirt mounds on their land to 
worship for a fee. As the open areas around the towns and cities were 
disappeared from urban sprawl, the natural habitat for ants and snakes 
disappeared with it.  With no new dirt mounds built by red ants and the 
existing ant mounds were removed for new construction, the die-hard 
snake god devotees were found themselves in quandary. While the 
traditional snake god temples do provide worship services on the 
auspicious day, the staunch followers of snake god wants to conduct 
worship at the ant mounds. Some urban entrepreneurs came out with a 
novel idea to build portable red-ant mound look-alike as small shrines 
to worship snake god on the day of celebration. These mobile mounds 
made from red clay appear natural like dirt mounds built by ants in the 
open fields.  Conveniently, Holes on the mound provide openings for 
devotees to pour milk and eggs as part of worship. Each hole is 
designated either to receive milk or eggs. Containers were placed 
inside the hollow mounds to collect either eggs or milk through a chute 
that connects the exterior holes to the containers. These portable 
snake mounds pop up at convenient locations for city dwellers to 
perform worship their beloved snake god. For die-hard devotees 
travelling to rural areas to worship live snakes that never existed in 
the ant mounds, the symbolic portable ant mounds erected at the street 
corners though look bizarre were easy access after all it is all about 


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