Skip to Content


Shesha, also known as Sheshanaga, is a prominent figure in Hindu mythology. He is a serpentine demigod and Nagaraja, the King of all serpents, as well as a primordial being of creation. According to Puranic texts, Shesha holds all the planets of the universe on his hoods and sings the glories of Vishnu from all his mouths. He is sometimes referred to as Ananta Shesha, which means “Endless-Shesha,” or Adishesha, which means “First Shesha.”

In Hinduism, Shesha is considered to be a manifestation of Lord Vishnu and is often depicted as a coiled serpent with multiple heads. He is said to have played a significant role in the creation and maintenance of the universe. According to legend, when the universe is created, it rests on the head of Shesha. When the universe is destroyed, it is Shesha who remains as the only survivor.

Shesha is a revered figure in Hindu mythology and is often worshipped by devotees. His significance in Hinduism is reflected in the many stories and legends that surround him. Despite being a fearsome and powerful figure, Shesha is also considered to be a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.

Mythological Origins

Hindu Mythology

Shesha is a prominent figure in Hindu mythology and is considered a deity in the religion. According to the Mahabharata, Shesha was born to the sage Kashyapa and his wife Kadru. Kadru gave birth to a thousand snakes, of which Shesha was the eldest. After Shesha, Vasuki, Iravati and Takshaka were born, in that order. Shesha is often depicted as a massive serpent with multiple heads, and he is known for his immense strength and power.

In Hindu mythology, Shesha is closely associated with Lord Vishnu. He is believed to be the king of all the Nagas and is said to live in the underworld. Shesha is also known as Ananta, which means “endless” in Sanskrit. According to the mythology, Shesha is the one who holds up the earth and all its inhabitants on his hood.

Cosmological Significance

Shesha has great cosmological significance in Hindu mythology. He is believed to be the cosmic serpent, who holds the universe on his hood. According to the mythology, Shesha supports the entire universe on his hood while Lord Vishnu rests on him during the time of cosmic dissolution. Shesha is also known as Adishesha, which means “the first Shesha”. He is believed to be the first being to emerge from the cosmic waters at the beginning of time.

In Hindu mythology, Shesha is also associated with the concept of time. He is believed to represent the endless cycle of birth and death, and his multiple heads are said to symbolize the different phases of time. Shesha is considered to be a powerful deity who has the ability to grant boons and blessings to his devotees.


Shesha is a prominent figure in Hindu mythology and is often depicted in various forms of art. This section explores the iconography of Shesha, including his depictions in art and symbolic representations.

Depictions in Art

Shesha is often depicted as a serpent with multiple heads, coiled around Lord Vishnu. In Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu is believed to rest on the coils of Shesha, who supports the universe. Shesha is also depicted as a cosmic serpent, with his thousands of heads bearing the universe.

Artworks often depict Lord Vishnu lying down on the serpent Shesha, who, when uncoils, starts the creation of life. When he coils back, the universe vanishes in non-existence. Shesha’s iconography has been extended to other deities as well.

Symbolic Representations

Shesha is a symbol of timelessness, eternity, and infinity. He represents the infinite nature of the universe and the divine power that holds it together. In Hindu mythology, Shesha is also believed to be the keeper of knowledge and wisdom.

Shesha’s association with Lord Vishnu represents the preservation and protection of the universe. His multiple heads symbolize the many aspects of creation and the ability to see and understand all things.

In conclusion, Shesha’s iconography is rich in symbolism and represents various aspects of Hindu mythology. His depictions in art and symbolic representations provide a glimpse into the vastness and complexity of Hindu mythology.

Cultural Impact

Shesha, also known as hookah, has a rich cultural history that spans centuries. It has become an important part of many societies and is often associated with social gatherings and relaxation.


Shesha has been referenced in literature for centuries. In India, the use of shesha has been depicted in poems and stories for hundreds of years. The famous Persian poet, Hafez, wrote about shesha in his poetry, describing it as a way to ease the mind and soothe the soul.

Festivals and Rituals

Shesha is often used as part of religious and cultural celebrations. In India, it is common to see shesha being used during weddings and other important ceremonies. In some Middle Eastern countries, shesha is a common sight during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.

Shesha has also become a popular feature at music festivals and other social events. It is often seen as a way to bring people together and create a relaxed atmosphere.

Overall, shesha has had a significant impact on many cultures around the world. Its use has become an important part of social gatherings and celebrations, and it continues to be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

Worship and Temples

Temple Architecture

Shesha is worshipped in many temples throughout India. The architecture of these temples varies greatly, but they all feature depictions of Shesha in some form. Some temples have elaborate carvings of Shesha on their walls, while others have statues of him in various poses. The temples are often adorned with intricate designs and colorful paintings.

One of the most famous temples dedicated to Shesha is the Ananthapura Lake Temple in Kerala. This temple is believed to be the original seat of Shesha and is said to have been built by the sage Parasurama. The temple is surrounded by a lake and is accessible only by a bridge. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple houses a statue of Shesha in his coiled form.

Pilgrimage Sites

There are several pilgrimage sites dedicated to Shesha throughout India. These sites are believed to be particularly sacred and are visited by thousands of devotees every year. One such site is the Sheshnag Temple in Jammu and Kashmir. This temple is located at an altitude of 3,500 meters and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The temple is dedicated to Shesha and is believed to be the place where he resides.

Another popular pilgrimage site is the Shesha Rishi Temple in Uttarakhand. This temple is located in the town of Nainital and is dedicated to Shesha as well as the sage Shesha Rishi. The temple is situated on a hill and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during their exile.

In conclusion, the worship of Shesha is an important aspect of Hinduism. The temples and pilgrimage sites dedicated to him are a testament to his popularity and significance. Devotees from all over the world visit these sites to seek his blessings and offer their prayers.

Modern Interpretations

Media Portrayals

Shesha has been portrayed in various media forms, including movies, television shows, and video games. In popular culture, he is often depicted as a giant serpent with multiple heads and is known for his immense strength and loyalty. Some modern interpretations of Shesha in media portray him as a villain, while others depict him as a hero. However, it is important to note that these portrayals are often based on creative liberties and may not accurately reflect the traditional beliefs and values associated with Shesha.

Contemporary Relevance

Despite being a mythical figure, Shesha continues to hold relevance in contemporary society. Many people still worship him as a deity and believe in his protective powers. In addition, some scholars have drawn parallels between Shesha and modern-day environmentalism. They argue that like Shesha, who is said to hold the weight of the world on his back, humans also have a responsibility to protect and preserve the planet. Shesha’s role as a protector and preserver of the universe is seen as a reminder of the importance of environmental stewardship.

Moreover, some people interpret Shesha’s multiple heads as a representation of diversity and inclusivity. They believe that just as Shesha has many heads, each with its own unique perspective, humans too should embrace diversity and respect different viewpoints. This interpretation of Shesha is seen as a call for unity and acceptance in a world that is often divided by differences.