Kukur Tihar – Festival to honour and admire your dogs

The second day, Kukur Tihar is for the dogs, which are said to be the representatives of the Lord Yamaraj, the divine force of death. Yamaraj is said to have two dogs – Shyam and Sadal – that monitor the passageway to hellfire. On this day, the dogs are brightened with garlands and tika making them holy and special. They are fed with delicious meals; the street dogs are also honored and worshiped on this particular day.

Photo – London Swaminathan

During Kukur Tihar, the mythological and real relationships between humans and dogs establish the day’s major focus. Like said above, dogs are said to be the representatives of the lord Yamraj, it is believed that the dogs can sense the death of somebody when it comes around. In this day, we start the day with a small puja, where we adorn the dogs with malas (garlands) and tika (red color powder) and pray to god that all our bad omens go away and may they protect us.

Dogs in the Hindu tradition

The role of dogs in human life and throughout history is celebrated in this particular day. In the Rigveda, one of Hinduism’s most ancient texts, Samara — the mother of dogs — assists Indra, the ruler of heaven, in retrieving stolen cattle. Hindu tradition holds that a dog is the guardian and messenger of Yama, the divine force of death. A dog is also said to guard the gates of the afterlife. In Mahabharata, the king of righteousness, Yudhishthira, refused to enter heaven without his devoted dog. The dog is revealed to represent the concept of dharma, the path of righteousness

Do upload your dog pictures with tika and mala in the comment section below. Happy Kukur Puja!

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Written by Dorjee Khando

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