SNAKE CHARMER DOING HIS CHARM IN BENARES, INDIA

This vintage real photo postcard features a snake charmer doing his charm in Benares, India. Ophidiophobics should think twice before adding this postcard to their collection. This photograph is a snake phobics nightmare. The photo was taken in Benares, which in India is known as Varanasi. The city is on the banks of the Ganges river. Benares is a major religious hub in India. In fact, it is the holiest of India’s seven sacred cities. What is the point of snake charming. It is the practice of hypnotizing snakes by playing and waving around an instrument called a “pungi”. A popular species of snake used in this practice are cobras. The snake charmer handles the snakes and performs dangerous acts with them. They also do other types of street performances (ie juggling or sleight of hand). India is considered the center of snake charming but the practice is also common is Pakistan, Thailand , Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and other Asian and North African countries. The popularity of snake charming is on the decline. Snake charmers tend to be transient. They visit towns during festivals and market days. The charmers are not suicidal. They sit outside of biting range and try to work with snakes when the snakes are sluggish. In addition, some of the snakes have their fangs and/or their venom glands removed. Some unfortunate snakes have their mouth sewn shut. The snakes do not hear the charmers music. Instead, they are interested in attacking the pungi, which they view as a predator. This postcard appears to be from the 1940’s.   (SOLD)