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Nagamandala: Summary

Girish Karnad

Naga Mandala by Girish Karnad is a play where myth takes over reality. Girish Raghunath Karnad is a contemporary Indian playwright, actor and movie director in Kannada language. He is among the seven recipients of Jnanpith Award for Kannada, the highest literary honor conferred in India. Girish karnad wrote the play Naga Mandala in 1987-88.The play is based on two oral Kannada tales he had heard from his mentor-friend and well –known poet, translator and philologist A.K.Rumanian, to whom Karnad also dedicated the play. Through the interesting blend of history and myth, he talks about socio-cultural issues of the India.

Plot Summary

Rani is a young bride who is neglected by her indifferent and unfaithful husband, Appanna. Appanna spends most of his time with his concubine and comes home only for lunch. Rani is one of those typical wives who want to win her husband’s affection at any cost. In an attempt to do so, she decides to drug her husband with a love root, which she mixes in the curry. That curry is spilled on the nearby anthill and Naga, the King Cobra drinks it.

Naga, who can take the form of a human being, is enchanted with her and begins to visit her every night in the form of her husband. This changes Rani’s life completely as she starts to experience the good things in life though she never knows that the person with her is not her husband but the Naga.

One of these days, she gets pregnant and breaks the news to Appanna. He immediately accuses her for adultery and says that he has not fathered the child. The issue is referred to the village Panchayat. She is then asked to prove her fidelity by putting her hand in the snake burrow and taking a vow that she has not committed adultery. It is a popular belief that if any person lies holding the snake in their hand, they will be instantly killed by the snake God.

She does place her hand in the snake burrow and vows that she has never touched any male other than her husband and the Naga in the burrow. She is declared chaste by the village Panchayat. However, her husband is not ready to accept that she is pregnant with his child and decides to find out the truth by spying on the house at night. Appanna is shocked to see the Naga visiting Rani in his form, spending time with her and then leaving the house.

Appanna gets furious with the Naga and indulges in a fight with him. Both of them fight vigorously and at one point of time, the Naga takes the form of the snake and escapes into the burrow. The villagers see the snake escaping into the burrow and kill it. Before dying the snake comes to Rani and reveals the truth to her.

However, after this incident Appanna realizes his mistake and he accepts Rani along with the child she is carrying.

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+ Comments + 15 Comments

25 January 2016 at 02:35

Nice post

7 May 2016 at 18:25

Great story

3 June 2017 at 07:32

Interesting story...

30 June 2017 at 05:43

It is really a very interesting love story of a man , woman & snake named Appanna , Rani & Naga

30 June 2017 at 05:45

It is really a very interesting love story of a man, woman & snake named Appanna, Rani & Naga

30 June 2017 at 05:54


1 November 2017 at 12:17

But I think there must be clear rereading of the original text, because the conclusion is very different.

27 November 2017 at 07:47

thanks for posting...
"one of those typical wives who want to win her husband’s affection" please check...

22 December 2017 at 07:47

Really brief and fantabulous...

17 February 2018 at 06:55

I just need the full text of this play but i don't get from anywhere so please post. ...Help

22 June 2019 at 19:05

Easy to understanding Thanking u so mich.....

5 July 2019 at 08:20


9 July 2019 at 19:01

I think the conclusion is different.

19 July 2019 at 20:03

It is very amazing story

15 August 2019 at 01:35

For that you need to read book,
And for that you need to purchase that.

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