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The Naga became angry and prayed that he might become a poisonous dragon so that he could drench the countryside in rain and wind. In Himalayan Buddhism, these water nagas are keepers of secret books of wisdom.So it is that at the end of his life he became the dragon of that country. They can be generous, but they also have the ability to let loose diseases and epidemics. Having set out for the mines of the sovereign, a large ship carrying a hundred and twenty sailors is destroyed in a storm, and [the hero] is cast alone on an island, where he finds figs, vines, leeks, fruit, cucumbers, fish, and fowl.In gratitude the sailor offers the serpent precious perfumes, but the latter laughs because as prince of Punt he has myrrh and hekenu in abundance.When the ship comes, the serpent gives him numerous treasures that the Egyptians imported from the incense-producing countries. In Nepal, the serpent deities are acknowledged for their power over rainfall and hence, the fertility of the land.No one dared enter the hut, though, and when morning came Kashyapa and his followers thought that the young visitor must certainly have been fiercely burned by the serpents fire.
Ulupi, daughter of their king, married Arjuna the hero and leader of the Pandava brothers whose charioteer is Krishna.
Naag is worshipped to provide a good harvest during the monsoon season, and Naag Panchami, the fifth day of the bright lunar fortnight, is set aside for worshipping serpents.
Devotees on this day paste pictures of Naag over their doorways with cow-dung.
Halfway through an article at Rediff.com, there is a link to origins but their earliest history is not revealed.
A speculation: In one version of the Buddha's life, he is said to have passed the night at the hermitage of Uruvela where the leader, Kashyapa, welcomed him but warned that the only vacant hut was the haunt of a malevolent naga.