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Water Buffalo

Scientific NameBubalus bubalis
Common NameBuffalo, Bhains (Hindi), Yerumai (Tamil), Mahishaha (Sanskrit)
DistributionThroughout India
Yama riding a buffalo

In religion and mythology

The buffalo is most commonly associated with Yama , the Hindu God of death. He is usually depicted riding a fierce-looking black male water buffalo.

The buffalo is sacred to the Todas of the Nilgiris. The animal plays an important role in many of their rituals. In the Mhasoba cult of western and southern India, people worship Mhasoba (a horned buffalo deity, sometimes associated with Lord Shiva / Mahesh) and His consort Jogubai (Goddess Durga).

The festival of Vijayadashami is celebrated to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over a demon named Mahishasura ( mahisha – buffalo + asura – demon ) . He was born out of the union of the demon king, Rambha with a water buffalo and hence, could change between human and buffalo forms at will.

Goddess Durga slaying Mahishasura - the buffalo-demon

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