Kukur Tihar or Kukur Puja literally means the worship of dogs. This is a mini-festival within a larger Hindu celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights. According to Nepalese tradition, one of the festive days is dedicated solely to the human's most devoted friend and guardian. In Hindu religion, a dog is a sacred animal to have a special bond with a human, so as to accompany us on our way to the heaven.
During Kukur Tihar, the canines are treated with special love and admiration. Each one gets a flower garland or "malla" placed around its neck. The forehead is painted with a paste named "talik" or "tikka" made from red-coloured powder, rice and yoghurt. This marking symbolises their sacredness. Dogs' favourite part of the celebration is the feast on various goodies ranging from fruit and cookies to eggs, milk, cheese, meat, and high-quality dog food.
There're no exceptions on this festival—each dog, whether home-owned or stray, receives such a special treatment. Even Nepalese Police Dogs can feel the holiday spirit. Besides being granted with a day off and general festivities, they also partake in a special march designed to mark the occasion.
You may witness these heart-melting festivities if you come to Kathmandu on time. Diwali annually falls in late October or early November. The festival stretches over five days, and Kukur Tihar is always the second day.