Nag Madir on the banks of River Tenga, Arunachal Pradesh

By Kamlesh Tripathi

Steps leading to Nag Mandir

Only recently, I travelled to Arunachal Pradesh from Mumbai. After landing in Guwahati we travelled all the way by road to Tawang a distance of over five hundred km and that too largely on mountain roads. On the way after Tezpur, there is a small town by the name of Bhalukpong. After Bhalukpong comes the Nag Mandir. Nag Mandir is a hundred and thirty-five km from Tezpur (Assam) on the picturesque banks of the Tenga River. During the early sixties when the construction work between 99 and 100 kilometres on the road from Bhalukpong to Tawang was in progress under Project Tusker of the Border Roads later renamed as Project Vartak, a couple of Nag snake (Cobra) was frequently seen on the spot by the workers. They would climb to the hilltop to drink the accumulated rainwater there that didn’t flow down. This drill of the snakes was witnessed off and on by the workers.

One day a man engaged in road work killed the male cobra that was moving there. Ever since, it is believed that the bad times of the group working there had commenced. When they went for the road work below the hilltop, the rocks and stones started falling on them. As a result of which the road development work virtually came to a standstill and became a matter of great concern.

Approach to the Nag Mandir

Slowly, the snake bites also became frequent. Probably because the snakes had gotten disturbed by the road-building activities. Meanwhile, the Female Nag had become furious and was wandering here and there cursing the killer of her mate. To propitiate her, a Nag Mandir (a Nag temple) was constructed at that very location. From the road, one has to negotiate a sizable number of steps to reach the temple located on the hillock.

The Mandir is administered by the successor units in charge of the sector. Major K Ramaswamy, Officer Commanding of 984 engineer works section later reorganized as 91 RCC established the temple in its present shape and form in the year 1966. After that, large-scale construction and renovation have been carried out every year by 91 RCC (GREF). The Nag Mandir since its inception, has earned a wide range of significance because since then, serenity has returned to the area. The Nag Mandir has stood as a saviour for the local population and travellers. On the day of Nag Panchami (a day of worship of the nag or snake across south asian Hindus, Jains and Buddhists in the hindu month of Shravana that also marks Lord Krishna’s victory over Kaliya Nag) every year, a big puja and mela are held here and devotees from far-off places like Guwahati, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow Patna


and even Tawang visit the Mandir and join the Bhandaras organised by 91 RCC (GREF) on the occasion at the site and get blessed by the Nag baba.

According to the Census 2011 information, the location code or village code of the Nag Mandir village is 261824. Nag Mandir village is located in the Singchung circle of West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is situated 17 km away from the sub-district headquarters of Singchung (tehsildar office) and 40km away from the district headquarters of Bomdila. As per 2009 stats, New Kaspi is the gram panchayat of Nag Mandir village. The board outside the Mandir reads Nag Baba Sabki manokamna pooree karein (May the holy snake fulfill all devotees’ wishes).

Amidst the scenic scapes of Arunachal Pradesh, overlooking the India-China border, this beautiful temple is not one to be missed.