Amateur video of cobra in temple goes viral

Attracting attention worldwide: Thinageswar performing prayers with the king cobra calmly going through the rituals at the Hindu temple in Kesang Pajak, Jasin.

JASIN - An amateur video shot by a 57-year-old devotee of a Hindu temple in Kesang Pajak has gone viral, leaving him stunned as to how his seemingly straightforward shot of a king cobra is now receiving global attention.

S. Subramaniam was in the Sri Pratiyangaraa Devi Sakhti Beddam Temple in Taman Ria for prayers in May when he used his smartphone to capture a clip of how a king cobra "performed" throughout the prayer ritual.

"My 25-year-old niece then downloaded WhatsApp onto the phone, and taught me how to post messages using the application.

"When I saw the cobra during the height of the ritual, I thought of capturing the footage for the benefit of my friends," he said here yesterday.

The father of five initially shared the video with mostly his friends and relatives.

"Many commended me after I posted the video as they felt it was hard for a former odd-job worker and an elderly man like me to be smartphone-savvy.

"This was my first attempt at using WhatsApp and I was surprised that the video went all the way to even Indian television."

Survana News of Karnataka in India beamed the footage during its prime time news on July 29, before the footage was later shared by other television stations in India.

The newscaster of Survana News spoke to several herpetologists on how the king cobra stayed calm during the hour-long ritual.

However, television stations initially claimed that the footage was obtained from a temple in Tamil Nadu without realising that it was shot in Malacca.

"I never expected that my footage would be shared around the world as the temple management also received a call from a woman in Switzerland after she saw the footage on social media, and then attempted to trace the source," said a proud Subramaniam.

Temple priest K.M. Thinageswar Sivaachaariyar said the cobra was brought in specially for the prayers that were held in May.

He said although poisonous, the snake would not be aggressive once verses were chanted during the ritual.

Thinageswar said two television stations, one from Tamil Nadu and another from Tokyo, requested permission for coverage when the cobra makes its next appearance at the temple from Aug 19 to 30.

"I am also surprised how these TV stations could trace the temple, although the footage on social media never mentioned the place or country," said Subramaniam.

"I am really excited about posting more videos and pictures on YouTube and Facebook. With ample leisure time, I can go capture footage of interesting events and share them with others."

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