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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

The snake-goddess Manasa


Scroll painting showing Behula taking his son's body down the river, 21st century AD

Bronze statue of Manasa, 8th century AD

Bronze statue of Manasa, 8th century AD


Bengal has many deadly snakes and this is why some people pray to the snake-goddess Manasa to protect them from being bitten. The most popular Manasa story is about how a merchant called Chand refused to worship her. In her anger Manasa killed his six sons on their wedding nights. Chand had a seventh son called Lakhinder and when it was time for him to marry, he married a girl called Behula. Chand built them a room of iron to protect them from Manasa's snakes, but there was a crack somewhere and a poisonous snake came in that night and killed Lakhinder. Behula took his body down the river in a raft and prayed to many gods until, finally, Manasa brought Lakhinder and his six brothers back to life. From that day, Chand began worshipping Manasa.