According to the Korean folklore, the tiger is regarded as guardian of the west and a divine spirit. They symbolize power and courage and are believed to ward off evil and bring about good luck. The white tigers are especially regarded as sacred creatures as they have apparently overcome the ordeals and attained a state of higher understanding about the world. Also, their white fur is the symbol of their wisdom. The other cultures also regard tigers in high esteem. A tiger festival called Bagh Jatra is held all across Nepal. And, the villages in Vietnam have temples dedicated to this mighty and divine creature.
Animals have been traditionally considered sacred in Hindu culture, The symbolic significance of animals in India are as vehicles of god or deities themselves. Bull, the vehicle of Lord Shiva,Tiger the vehicle of “Maa Durga“, mouse is also considered as one of the holy animals in India, It is vahana (mount/vehicle) of the Lord Shri Ganesh.
The Karni Mata Temple is very popular as the temple of rats in Rajasthan. Indian Eagle Garuda and peacock are considered as the sacred bird of Hindu.
Not only animals are worship as sacred in India, Holy rivers, Sacred trees, land and birds are also worship in Indian culture. Street show of animals like monkey, bear and snakes used by the tribe people for living hood. Still in the rural parts of the country,buffalo, goat and chicken’s are sacrificed to deities by the various tribes. The animals are sacrificed as part of an old annual tribal custom or tradition in India and some time there are incident of killing of wild animals by the villagers too. 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.
LONDA, BELAGAVI: Far from the crowds of the cities and towns, Londa village in Belagavi district lies nestled in the forests of Western Ghats. And this proximity to nature and animals is said to have given the village its most revered deity – tiger – at the Vyagreshwar or Wagoba temple.
Tigers are generally revered as the ‘vahana’ or vehicle of goddesses. But here in Londa, the tiger deity is the deeply revered deity by several families, especially those from the Kunabi community who have lived in the surrounding forests for decades.
A century ago, when the British were yet to lay a railway track through these jungles to connect Goa and Karnataka, the tiger population in the forest was high. Fearing attacks on cattle and villagers, a temple was built and dedicated to the big cat. Local legend has it that the tiger attacks went down after the temple was built. Elders in the village say that it has become customary for a tiger to show up whenever a procession was taken out from Londa to nearby villages during the temple festival.
The Royal Bengal Tiger “National Symbols of India” is one of the sacred animal 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.
Even today, the area where the temple is located abuts a wildlife sanctuary that has a decent tiger population.
“The temple has many devotees. Villagers from surrounding areas come to offer prayers at the Wagoba temple. There is another temple dedicated to tiger called ‘Wagoba Mandir’ near Pune as well. During the 1950s, villagers in Londa renovated the temple and recently some more structures were added to the temple. Elders in my family have recalled that the tiger deity has been in Londa for many years,” says Nitin Mirashi, a priest at the temple.
“Once in three years, the temple authorities conduct a ‘gondal’ or a fair. Thousands of devotees from Maharashtra, Goa and from across Karnataka travel to this hamlet to participate in the fair. The entire village takes part in the carnival,” says a villager in Londa.