It’s dog day in Kathmandu!

Today is Dog Worship Day, Kukur Puja, in Nepal’s Tihar festival, a day when you will see all dogs, domesticated and strays, garlanded and fed treats.The origin of Kukur Puja is based on the Hindu belief in Yama, the god of death, who had two dogs as guards. Respecting and being kind to dogs on this day is meant to appease Yama and ensure one can pass the dogs en route to “heaven” when we die. All dogs are included as I’ve mentioned, whether stray or domesticated, personal or institutional such as police dogs, military dogs and dogs trained in search and rescue. In recent years this special day has had an impact in Nepal on the treatment of all animals generally and today messages about animal welfare will be in newspapers, tv and radio in Nepal.

I have been in Kathmandu several times during Tihar staying at my brother-in-law’s house where for many years they had a small dog called Gini. So naturally Gini was fêted and treated across this day too.

Gini in her Kathmandu home on Kukur Puja day.

This morning for “a bit of fun” we visited one of our neighbours who have a lovely small dog, very friendly but excitable. Ruby gave us our usual excitement and we treated her to a doggie bone treat and a ribbon too.

Ruby enjoying her doggie treat.

On a final note on this day I am often reminded of my feeble attempts to learn and speak Nepali. I did learn enough to help me in my mountaineering forays into the Himalayas where “accommodation” was either in tents or village lodges. It was in lodges that my fluency was severely tested, especially when ordering food. Kukur and Kukra are two very similar words, except one means chicken the other means dog! Much laughter as I often ordered dog curry!




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9 replies

  1. how nice of you to give Ruby a treat…

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  2. Thank you for sharing this! I totally believe dogs will get to heaven long before any of us humans — we should try to be more like our dogs! Gini is precious, as is your neighbor’s dog. My husband and I have no pets but I have adopted most of the dogs in the apartment complex and a few in town. So far, Martha (pug), Leon (Bernese Mountain dog), Connor (red and white Irish Setter), Mishka (shelter mutt), Moose (lab mix) and Bella (Cavalier King Charles) are part of my brood. Who knows what other dogs I’ll meet along the way.

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  3. What an interesting post! Thank you for sharing. Is there a special day for cats? (I had to ask.)

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    • Thank you and good question. Originally these things were strictly observed according to scriptures but for the last 5 years ago all pets have been included.

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  4. I love a special day for dogs. I will not be telling my two dogs about this as then they will want another treat! Your neighbours dog is a sweetie as is Gini in Nepal.

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