The once mighty snake charmer in India has been struck by a fate of bad luck and bureaucracy. Not only have laws been passed to ban the ownership of serpents, since 1991 the government of India has banned any shows featuring snakes (even cobras). I was surprised to see how the snakes are actually treated. If you look closely at the man to the right he is irritating the snake in order to make it react. In more than one location across my travels through the India, snake charmers can be seen poking the snakes in order to make it seem like they are reacting to the music.
As a disclosure the snake charmers found above are in the overly tourist populated center of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan. The state of Rajasthan is one of the most visited places in India. Witnessing similar behavior at the monkey temple in Jaipur there may not be any “classic” snake charmers left in India. Hopefully on the upcoming trip to the holy city, Varanasi, and the popular city of Agra, our fortunes will change.