Nag Nathaiya festival is celebrated in Tulsi Ghat of Varanasi in Kartik month. It is popular as Nag Nathaiya Leela. This festival is a part of the Krishna Leela celebrations. This event depicts the famous incident in Lord Sri Krishna’s life. During this festival, Lord Krishna jumps into the Ganga River to perform Nag Nathan. This festival attracts large number of pilgrims all over India and across the world.
The legend and the origin of Nag Nathaiya are mentioned in Mahabharata. When Lord Krishna was a young boy, he lost his ball in the river. Then Bal Krishna jumped into the river to bring back his ball. There he fought arrogantly with Kalia, a large snake. Kalia identified that the boy is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, he withdrew from fight and lifted up Krishna on his hood. Krishna appeared on the hood of Kaliya above the surface of the river to his friends and the people of Gokul. In Mahabharata, this episode is known as ‘Kaliya Mardhan.