Tribes That Worship The Tiger

Posted by: Seema Khinnavar on

North Eastern Naga Tribe
The Nagas believe that man and tiger are the sons of the same mother. Man stayedat hme while the tiger went to live in the jungle. But one day both were compelled to fight and man killed the tiger and pushed him into the river. The dead tiger body floated downstream and the Naga God discovered it. He sat on the body for 10 years and gave birth to hundred tigers.

The Warli Tribe
The Warlis consider tigers to be a God. When a Warli hears a tiger roar, or spots tiger pug marks, he will scream "Paoona Aala" meaning the guest has come. Then he will break a coconut over the pug mark and smear it with gulal. The presence of a tiger is considered to bring good harvest.

In Sanguem and Sattari Taluka regions of Goa there are several forest dwelling tribes which worship tigers as God. There are various shrines like the one of Vyhagreshwar and Vaghrodev in which Tigers are highly revered. These tribes fear the tiger and no one dares to kill it fearing the wrath of tigers.

People of Sunderbans
The people of Sunderbans worship the Tiger as the Lord of the South. The Tiger owns all the land and wealth of the Sunderbans and shares it with Bonobibi. Both Hindus and Muslims gather at a common site to worship the Tiger.

Bhils of Rajasthan
The Bhils of Rajasthan worship the Tiger as Vaghdev. The Goddess Ambadevi is depicted riding on a tiger.

Korku Tribe
The Korku tribe worships the tiger and has their own story about the origin of the tiger. Once when Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiv were living together, Lord Shiv had gone to collect wood in the forest. He got a bit late so Goddess Parvati got anxious and made a tiger out of human excrements. She sent it to look for Lord Shiv. The Tiger bounded after Lord Shiv, he got angry and threw a piece of wood at him and cursed saying that he would remain a jungle dog forever. When a tiger is killed, the Korkus burn off the tigers whiskers. This is done to prevent the tiger's spirit from haunting them. They also believe that the tiger's bone is an excellent cure for rheumatism and sprains. The tiger's tongue is cooked and pounded up to put in small quantities in the milk that children drink. It is believed to be an excellent tonic for them.

The Tulunadu tribe of South Kanara district of Karnataka worship spirits or bhooth. They believe that these spirits play tricks and also protect them. One of these spirits is the spirit of the jungle the Tiger.

Baghels of Rewa Madhya Pradesh
Baghel which literally means the Tiger clan is a race which considers themselves to be the descendents of the tiger. According to legend, a child in the form of a tiger was born to the Solanki Raja of Gujarat, his son Anoka had annexed the village of Vaghela (the tiger's lair).

Lyngham Tribe
The Lyngham tribe of Meghalaya believes that the tiger is part of the man's spirit and is responsible for rewarding or punishing man according to his conduct.

The Baiga Tribe of Madhya Pradesh
When a man is killed by a tiger, a priest from the village goes to the place where the man has been killed. He makes a small cone out of the blood stained Earth and holds it in his mouth. Then he performs a series of antics which are supposed to represent the actions done by the tiger while killing the human. He keeps doing this until someone comes and taps on his shoulder with a stick. This is supposed to represent that the tiger has been killed or rendered harmless. The priest then releases the mud cone from his mouth. The next day, the mud cone is taken to an anthill and a pig is sacrificed over it. The next day, a chicken is taken to the same place and its forehead is marked with a crimson powder. The priest shouts out "Take this and go home!" This practice is supposed to bring peace to the soul of the man killed by the tiger who would otherwise instigate the tiger to kill other human beings too.

Panwar Clan
The Panwar Clan of Central India worships the tiger as Baghdeo. When a person is killed by the tiger, a small hut is made in the yard of the house and a statue or an image of the tiger is placed inside it. This image of the tiger is worshipped on the person's death anniversary. The tribe believes that the tiger has become a part of the family and hence does not kill it.

The Gond tribe
In case a person is killed by the tiger, the Gonds make a bamboo image of the tiger and throw it in out of the village. Only the closest relatives of the person are allowed to touch the body of the person. The Gonds also carry the shoulder bone of the tiger or eat the bone dust of the tiger. They believe that it will bring them strength.

The Garo tribe
The Garo women wear a tiger nose as necklaces. They believe that it will protect them from pregnancy problems and other such disorders. They also wear tiger claws set in gold or silver as a protective charm.

The Kols
The Kol tribe of Central India worships the tiger as Bagheshwar Deo. They consider that if the tiger is deprived of food, their families will also be deprived of food. If the tiger takes one of their cattle, they consider that there has been some neglect in the worship of tiger. If a tiger has been killed within the limits of their village, they throw away all their earthen pots as they would do in case of a death of a relative. They also shave off their heads and feed a few men of their tribe.

The Santhals also worship the tiger as Bagheshwar whereas the Kisans honor him as Banraja (king of the jungle).

Kawar Tribe of Madhya Pradesh
When a person of this tribe gets married, the bridegroom prepares a small image of the tiger with flour and fries it in oil.

Baghani tribe of Madhya Pradesh
This tribe has been named after the tiger. They believe that if a man who is free of sin meets a tiger, the tiger will not attack him but run away. When a Baghani hears that a tiger has been killed by any member of their tribe, they purify their homes with cow dung and water.