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| Last Updated:: 30/01/2016

Sacred Animals

SACRED ANIMALS OF INDIA
Worship of Cow Worship of Durga 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By recognizing the divinity in animals, Indian traditions give them an equal position unsurpassed by any other tradition. Many animal species have been traditionally protected and continue to be conserved in many parts of our country.

 

 

Animals have been traditionally considered sacred for the following reasons:


 

  • Some animals are worshipped as deities themselves. For example, Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, and Hanuman, the monkey God.  

 

  • Many animals are considered as vehicles ( vahanas ) of the deities and hence developed sanctity. For example, Garuda (Brahminy Kite), the vahana of Lord Vishnu, and Nandi (Bull), the vehicle of Lord Shiva.     

 

  • Animals have also been regarded as the abode (either temporary or permanent) of the souls of the dead. Sometimes, even as the actual soul of the dead. For example, Crow and Dog. The sanctity of an animal may also be based on their economic value. For example, the water buffalo is venerated by Todas - a small pastoral vegetarian tribe of the Nilgiris – who rely on the animal for milk.   

 

 

 

By deifying animals, Indian culture recognised that the same divine soul that lived in humans also lived in animals. Further, the divinity protected the animal from exploitation, hunting and cruelty. It was a uniquely Indian way of providing protection to animals and birds. 

 

 

 

 

 

List of Sacred Animals

 

 

Ant

 Bear

Blackbuck

 Blue bull

Boar/Domestic Pig

Buffalo

Bull

Bumble Bee

Butterfly 

Cat

Camel

Cock / Rooster

Conch

Cow

Crane

Crocodile

Crow

Cuckoo

Dog

Donkey

Dove / Pigeon

Deer

Eagle

Elephant

Fish 

Flying Fox

Frog

Gecko

Goat

Hare

Honey Bee

Horse

Jackal

Kite

Lion

Lizard

Mite

Mongoose

Monkey/Hanuman Langur

Owl

Peacock

Pheasent

Porcupine

Praying Mantis

Rat

Rhinoceros

Sheep

Shrew

Snake

Snow Leopard

Spider

Squirrel

Swan

 Tiger

Tortoise

Vulture

Yak