In religion and mythology
Snakes, especially the cobra have been one of the most significant symbols in Hindu religion and mythology and are mostly associated with wealth, power and fertility.
The cobra is most commonly associated with Lord Shiva, who wears a Cobra coiled around his neck. This symbolises the power the Lord has over the deadliest of creatures.
Lord Vishnu also rests on a coiled cobra, the Adi-sesha in Vaikuntam. Adi-sesha is believed to have been asked by Lord Brahma to bear the weight of the entire world on his head. Some of the avatars or manifestations of the Adi-sesha are Lakshmana and Balarama, who are always with the Lord.
The Cobra is also sacred to the Buddhists, who believe that a cobra (which actually the serpent King Muchalinda) protected Lord Buddha from a raging storm by spreading its hood, while he was meditating.