Legend of the Nag Nathaiya :
Nag Nathaiya festival was first started in the 16th century by the great saint TulsiDasa on the banks of River Ganges, now known as Tulsi Ghat in the Benaras. Once upon a time, Lord Krishna and his friends were playing on the bank of the River Yamuna in Gokul. Suddenly they lost their ball in the river. Children of Gokul asked every passer-by about whereabouts of ball but were clueless. Then they guessed that their ball might have fallen in River. Then Lord Krishna jumped into the river to search for the ball. In the river he was confronted with the noxious snake King Cobra, known as the Kaliya Nag. Those days, villagers of Gokul were much afraid of Kaliya for long time. The conflict went long between the Kaliya Nag and Lord Krishna.
Finally, Kaliya realized the power of Krishna and then he accepted his defeat and bent in front of the Lord Krishna. Kaliya promised that he will never harm the villagers. Then Kaliya seated Lord Krishna on his hood and brought him outside the River Yamuna. His friends were very pleased after seeing the Krishna outside the water and getting their ball. In this way Lord Krishna had saved the life of villagers from Kaliya as well as poisonous water. The whole event is known as the Nag Nathaiya which dates back to Epic Period according to the History of India.
Festival Celebrations in Varanasi :
This festival is commemorated very eagerly in the Varanasi at the Tulsi ghat for celebrating the victory of the Lord Krishna. A very young boy plays the role of Lord Krishna, he take a jump into the river from the branch of the Kadamba tree at the bank of river Ganga to defeat the Kaliya. He comes outside the water at the head of Kaliya by having a flute in his hand and pose just like Krishna. A large crowd of the people collect at the ghat waiting for the boy to come out. This festival is even attended by the Kashi Naresh of Ramnagar who watches the famous Krishna Leela on his royal boat. After all, he offers awards to the actors who have performed in the festival.
Nag Nathiyya In 2016 :
Nag Nathaiyya would be celebrated in the month of October November in 2016. Due dates would be published shortly by the administration.
Significance of the Nag Nathaiya :
Nag Nathaiya is the most important festival which is yearly celebrated in the Varanasi to remember the Krishna Leela. Nag Nathaiya is the most significant part of life of the Lord Krishna. Nag Nathaiya festival is held at the Tulsi Ghat annually in the Benaras. It is considered that the Lord Krishna jumped into the River Yamuna one of the tributaries of River Ganges to kill Kaliya Nag Nathan to prevent people from his cruelty. Nag Nathaiya Leela is celebrated with the great joy and happiness by the people of Varanasi at the Tulsi Ghat between the month of November and December. This festival attracts a huge crowd on the ghat to see the Krishna Leela in Varanasi. Many of the incarnations of Hindu Mythology reflects that Lord Vishnu comes on earth to punish vice. Krishna is one such incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Krishna Leela is generally an act of Lord Krishna to preserve goodness and to prove victory of Virtue over Vice. Nag Nathiya is one such Leela which reminds all that vice is always punished.