Nag Panchami falls on 16 August this year. Recommended accommodation is available at the nearby town of Sangli, at the Hotel Sadanand (tel: 0091 233 322911), with double rooms from pounds 7. India Tourist Office (tel: 0171 437 3677).

Most of the 30 or so Holiness churches where snakes are regularly handled do not welcome approaches from inquisitive outsiders; the exceptions are the churches at Kingston, North Georgia and Jolo, West Virginia. Church times are irregular.

Bio-Ken Snake Park, Watamu. Open 9am-12pm and 2pm-5pm every day. Admission Ks300 (pounds 3). Expect to pay about Ks1,000 (pounds 10) to join a snake-catcher for the day. Kenyan Tourist Office (tel: 0171-355 3144).

The Snakebite Survivors' Club by Jeremy Seal is published by Picador, pounds 16.99.