Naga Sadhu with a two-headed snake

Naga Sadhu with a two-headed snake wrapped around his head in Varanasi
Naga Sadhu with a red sand boa (two-headed snake) | Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

The snake that is resting on this Naga Sadhu’s head is called a red sand boa and is commonly referred to as the two-headed snake. It is not the same as a bicephalous snake but has a tail which appears head-like. There are several superstitions attached to it, one of which is that it brings good luck to its owner and cures several diseases. This superstition has endangered the species and resulted in illegal trading for it. In these illegal markets, these snakes are purchased at exorbitant rates. Officially, it is a protected species.

Read more: Sadhu

134 Replies to “Naga Sadhu with a two-headed snake”

  1. I love this image, I could look at it for ages. It is one that makes me want to visit and see for myself. Most of all though, I like that you have included a story and history with this image. Like so many other animals, it is a shame this snake is endangered due to cultural beliefs/superstitions.

  2. What a curious capture! I love it mostly because it sums up the entire mysterious and esoteric aura around the Sadhu! :D Not to mention, the beautiful sand boa ups the surreal nature of the image. <3

  3. I Love the unique beauty of snakes. Thank You for sharing the mystery of the red sand boa… visually and in words. Another exquisite photograph!
    Have a lovely 2015,
    Lee

  4. Oh my … so much in this post. An incredible photo, of course, but also the information about the snake. Fascinating (but never going on my head :-) )

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