Animals have been traditionally considered sacred in Hindu culture. The symbolic significance of animals in India is simple: they are vehicles of god or deities themselves.
For exemple, the bull is the vehicle of Lord Shiva; the tiger the vehicle of “Maa Durga“ ; the mouse is also considered as one of the holy animals in India : it’s vahana (mount/vehicle) of the Lord Shri Ganesh.
The indian Eagle Garuda and the peacock are considered as the sacred bird of Hindu.
The tribe people for living hood use Streetshow of animals like monkeys, bears and snakes. In the rural parts of the country, buffalo, goat and chicken’s are still sacrificed to deities by the various tribes. The animals are sacrificed as part of an old annual tribal custom or tradition in India and sometimes there are incidents with animals and villagers.
To describe the significance of animals in Indian culture “Sacred Animals of India” book has been published. The book “Sacred Animals of India” authored by Dr. Nanditha Krishna and released by Maneka Gandhi, the animal rights activist.
Cow: The cow is holiest animal in India and their slaughter is banned throughout India. Cow is one of the most worshiped animal in India, she treated as the gods in the shape of animal. Cow the “Sacred Animals of India” is even more than a mother in the sense that it fulfills all the needs of her children. The cow in India is believed as a gift of the gods to the peoples.
Monkey: Monkey is believed as the form of God Hanuman or Bajrang Bali, the god of power and strength. Many Indian temple’s like Durga Temple Varanasi and famous Monkey Temple Galta, Jaipur is the home for thousand’s of monkey’s. The biggest monkey is known as Langur or Hanuman Langur, is the most sacred in India. There is a famous Ubud Monkey Forest and temple complex in Ubud, Bali which is one of the most tourist attraction in Bali and Swayambhunath in Nepal.
Snake: The worship of serpent deities is present in several old cultures, In the Hindu religion’s the Lord Shiva wear the Nag snake “Indian Cobra” as an ornament around his neck. Indian Cobra is the most sacred snake in India. Nag Panchami, the festival of snakes, is a Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of snakes and serpent deities. It is an important festival in India, peoples offer puja, Milk and worship the snake.
Elephant: The elephant is vehicle of Indra and “The elephant-headed God” Shri Ganesh, deity of success and education is worship by the Indian peoples. The elephant in India is part of Hindu ethos and culture. It was used as an instrument of war and also as a log carrier in the woods. The Great Indian elephant is decorated and worshiped in Kerala, Many major temples own elephants others hire or are donated elephants during the festival seasons.
Tiger: The Royal Bengal Tiger “National Symbols of India” is one of the sacred animals in India. The National animal of India Tiger and Great Lion are the vehicle of Hindu deity “Maa Durga“. The Bengal tiger is Worshiped by the tribes and by the sundervan people as well.
But not only animals are worship as sacred in India: Holy rivers, Sacred trees, land and birds are also worship in Indian culture. The Karni Mata Temple is very popular as the temple of rats in Rajasthan. Maybe this will be the subject of an other article!