May 8, 2006

Snake dies after biting priest

New Delhi - A snake in eastern India bit a priest, vomited blood and died shortly after.

The priest, who is recovering in a hospital in Jharkhand state, attributed the miracle to the Hindu god Lord Shiva, news reports said.

The priest of Nag Devta (the snake god) temple was bitten by a five-foot snake in the temple premises in Jharkhand, the IANS news agency reported on Monday, quoting local newspapers.

The temple is located in the Badapaghar village of Dumka district, about 450 kilometres from the state capital Ranchi.

"Lord Shiva's charisma saved me," the priest said at the hospital. Amazed villagers also said Lord Shiva saved the Hindu priest.

"Usually a person does not survive if the snake dies or gets killed after biting," one villager said. "The priest has not only survived but is also behaving normally."

Lord Shiva, one of the three main Hindu gods, wears a snake around his neck. It is said to symbolise the power he has over deadly creatures.

For many Hindus, the shedding of skin by snakes also symbolises reincarnation. - Sapa-dpa

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