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Chhattisgarh's temple for loyal dog draws CM Baghel

By R Krishna Das
September 23, 2022 12:58 IST
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The centuries-old belief that worshipping at the temple cures fatal dog bites still continues, with victims from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh visiting the temple, reports R Krishna Das.

IMAGE: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel plays a drum at the inauguration of the newly formed district of the state Manendragarh-Chirmiri-Bharatpur, September 9, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo/CMO Chhattisgarh Twitter

Call it belief, misconception, or mythology peppered with fascinating tales, in Chhattisgarh a temple dedicated to dogs is attracting visitors, including Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

Located in Khapri village, Balod district, the temple is known as Kukurdev Mandir.

In the Chhattisgarhi dialect and Hindi too, “kukur” means dog.

 

Baghel on Monday visited the temple during his ongoing “Bhet Mulaqat programme”. The campaign is aimed to take governance to ground zero and evaluate progress and performance.

A state government spokesperson said Baghel started the second day of the programme in Balod by worshipping at the temple.

“The chief minister performed rituals at the Kukurdev Temple and prayed for the happiness and prosperity of the state,” the spokesperson said.

The temple is a symbol of Chhattisgarh’s rich cultural heritage.

The dog temple is a template of the loyalty of the speechless towards his master and an example of the strong bond between human and animal.

The story of the temple dates back to the Nagvanshi dynasty. Khapri village was then a home of nomads and one of them owned a faithful dog. A famine broke out in the region, and the nomad had to mortgage his dog to a malguzaar (moneylender). One day a theft took place at the malguzaar’s home and the thieves decamped with a huge booty.

The faithful dog took the malguzaar to the spot where the thieves had hidden the stolen treasure. The malguzaar was deeply impressed by the dog’s loyalty and set him free after hanging the written account of the dog’s faithfulness in the form of a letter on his neck.

The dog, with the letter tied to his neck, returned to his nomad master. The latter thought the dog had deserted the malguzaar and in a fit of anger attacked him. The dog died. The nomad then read the letter tied to the dead dog’s neck and realised the dutifulness and loyalty of the speechless animal. He then made a tomb for the dog at the spot of the Kukurdev Temple.

The Nagvanshi kings, who ruled part of Chhattisgarh in the 14th and 15th centuries, built the temple on the spot.

The centuries-old belief that worshipping at the temple cures fatal dog bites still continues. Victims from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh visit the temple. According to rituals, they have to take a round of the tomb with folded hands and consume a pinch of mud.

As the flow of patients diminishes following modern medicine and awareness, the temple is now turning into a place to visit. 

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