Although the exact appearance of a naga varies depeding on the parent culture or religion, it is generally considered to resemble a human being from head to waist, and continue from there as a serpent. Other depictions are is a one- or multiheaded snake with the ability to take human form, or even a human with snakes on the head and neck. The latter reminds of a Medusa.
Nagas commonly have some magical powers most often connected to shapeshifting between their two natures. They live in the netherworld called Patala, which is the beautiful underworld of Hinduism.
Personality and traits
Typical naga is a proud and somewhat haughty creature that has an alluring exotic aura extending from them. They are not evil, although their powerful and semi-divine presence might feel threatening.
Individually strong, nagas often serve in a guard duty as appointed by some divine entity. Ferocious in their role, they may be overprotective of the secrets they guard, and kill foolhardy or ignorant explorers. When outside of their guard duty, they are generally benevolent beings as long as they are not insulted.
Habitat and enemies
Depending on the originating myth, nagas of the underworld are enemies of Garudas, which are another Hinduistic legendary bird-like creature. In Buddhist tradition, nagas guard heavenly Devas on Mount Sumeru by attacks from Asuras, which are unpredictable titans who were cast off from Buddhist heaven.
Nagas are associated with water, so in their netherworld they often reside in or near rivers, lakes and oceans, but also in places with deep recesses such as caverns.
There are also lesser beings known as naga people, who are descendants of a bloodline where the ancestry of humans and nagas intermingled. These human-shaped half-nagas retained some of their shapeshifting powers. However, they have lost much of their divinity and are not granted access to netherworld, but still prefer to live in subterranean world.