It is not only seers and pilgrims who are taking the holy dip at the Sangam but many pets have also accompanied their masters to Kumbh and are equally active in bathing in the holy water.

There are many seers who have arrived here with their pets. These pets remain glued to their masters and follow them everywhere. The pets, mostly dogs, reside in the camps with seers and participate in the ‘bhandaras’ (community feast) and other religious activities.

The seers take good care of their pets and ensure that they follow the rules of akhadas. Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad chairman Narendra Giri said dogs have been mentioned in the ancient sacred texts. Bhagwan Dattatreya was always depicted with four dogs— the watchdogs of truth. Among list of 24 ‘gurus’, Bhagwan Dattatreya has included many animals such as python, pigeon, fish, elephant, bee, bear, bull and others.

Over 20 seers have arrived in Kumbh with their dogs.

Omgiri Maharaj of Juna Akhada came from Punjab with his two dogs. Ramrajpuri of Gujarat is also accompanied by his pet dog. Saint Chaitanya Puri is followed by his Labrador Bhairav.

The dogs receive VIP treatment at the camps and they sleep on beds and eat dry fruits besides taking milk, butter and other nutritional food. Jackie and Shanky, the pets of a naga seer from Kedarnath, Premgiri and seer from Indore Kedarpuri, even keep fast with them and only eat fruits as ordered by their masters.

Some other saints have also arrived with their bulls and pet rats. A seer is always seen carrying his pet pigeon on his shoulders and has become famous as ‘Kabootar baba’.

Not only saints but their pets have also become an attraction for foreign tourists and local pilgrims.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 13:49 IST

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