Nagula chavithi or Nagachaturthi
It is a festival that is observed on the fourth day of the waxing moon in the Karthika month. Chaviti is the 4 day of the sukla paksha of Karthik Masa. This is the fourth day after Diwali. On this day people visit the snake pits or Putta(in telugu) or Valmeekam and offer prayers along with milk. It is a belief among the devotees that if they worship Lord Naga(snake) with utter devotion they will be free from all illness and will flourish with wealth and happiness.
The reason behind pouring milk in the snake pit even while we know that snake is carnivorous and doesn’t drink milk is explained as follows:
It is a known fact that all the nerves are connected to the brain and the spinal cord. According to “Yoga Shastra” , the “Kundalini Shakti” (the eternal energy) resides at the bottom of the spinal cord in the Muuladhara Chakra. It is believed that it pretends to sleep but keeps on oozing poison in the form of the six evils that are displayed by the humans, “Kama,(Lust) Krodha(anger/rage), Lobha(greediness), Moha(attachment), Madha(ego), Matsarya(envy/jealousy)” to which the man succumbs. Milk is white in colour, and we would want the snake inside us to convert itself into the great white snake Adi Sesha so that it could become the bed of the Lord Vishnu who always resides in our heart. Pouring of milk only signifies trying to overcome the effect of the above-mentioned snake.
On this day, it is a custom to get up early in the morning, take a head bath and go to the snake pit and offer milk along with a recipe called Chalimidi and Chimmiri.
The mud of the snake pitt is considered to be having medicinal values and it is a custom to apply the mud on ones ears. It is a belief that it would cure the ear problems. The mud is normally referred to as Putta Bangaram.
In Tirumala, Lord Venkateshwara is made to sit on the Pedaa Sesha Vahanam (the large snake vehicle) and a procession is taken out.
It is difficult to find a snake pit in cities, so a pit made of flour can be prepared at home and the offering of milk can be made at home itself.