Narayan Nagbali is one of the main rituals performed at Trimbakeshwar. Ancient scriptures like Dharma Sindhu, which describes various religious rites, mentions that this particular ritual should be done only at Trimbakeshwar. The references are found even in Skandh Puran and Padma Puran about this age-old tradition.
Narayan Nagbali is performed to get respite from various problems like childlessness, exorcism, etc. It gives good health, success in business and career and fulfils wishes. It is a three-day ritual on a particular day and time (muhurta). On the first day, the devotees should take a holy bath in Kushavarta and resolve to give dashdaan (give ten things in charity). After offering prayers at the Trimbakeshwar temple, they go to the dharmashala at the confluence of rivers Godavari and Ahilya for performing Narayan Nagbali.
First of all, the devotees pray for getting absolved of any curse inflicted by someone whom they or their forefathers in this or earlier births might have cheated or deprived in some way. They also pray for peace of their forefathers’ departed souls and for continuity of their family through good progeny. After Kalash Sthapana, the Panchdevata, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Yama are worshipped. Thereafter Parnashar ritual takes place wherein such dissatisfied souls are evoked and their last rites are performed respectfully to free them from the occult existence after their deaths. Since the names of the person/s who are haunting the devotee are not known, they are named Narayan. The devotees mourn Narayan’s ‘death’ for a day (sutak) and bathe in Kushavarta.
On the second day, the ashes of Narayan - symbolically consigned to flames - are immersed and after a bath, the one-day mourning gets over. Then the devotee offers prayers at the Trimbakeshwar temple and goes again to the dharmashala near river confluence. Here Narayan’s shraddha ceremony takes place to satisfy his dissatisfied soul. The devotee resolves to perform Narayan Nagbali again after the fulfilment of his wishes, though it is not mandatory. After seeking blessings of Brahmans, this ritual ends here.
To get absolved of sin of snake killed by them or their ancestors, intentionally or unintentionally in this or previous births, Nagbali ritual is performed to cleanse body and mind through repentance. This snake is also given respectful last rites by symbolically burning an idol made of wheat or rice flour. After performing this snake’s shraddha, the devotees take bath in Kushavartha. On the third day, the ashes of this snake are immersed followed by a holy dip in Kushavarta. After performing Ganesh Pujan and Punyahvachan, a gold snake is worshipped and given to the Upadhyay (priest). Then as resolved at the beginning of rituals, give dashdaan as per one’s capacity.
After praying at Trimbakeshwar, devotees perform tirtha shraddha of their late parents and give Brahman bhojan. Also perform lakhurudra or maharudra at the Trimbakeshwar.
Courtesy : Mr. Pachorkar