In Hindu and Buddhist mythology, a semidivine being, half human and half serpent. Nagas can assume either wholly human or wholly serpentine form. They live in an underground kingdom filled with beautiful palaces that are adorned with gems. Brahma is said to have relegated the nagas to the nether regions and to have commanded them to bite only the truly evil or those destined to die prematurely. Nagas are also associated with waters—rivers, lakes, seas, and wells—and are regarded as guardians of treasure. In Buddhism it is believed that the snake king sheltered the Buddha from rain for seven days while he was meditating.
Learn more about naga with a free trial on Britannica.com.