GORAKHNATH TEMPLE (GORAKHPUR): Gullu is restless. Kalu is tirelessly playful. The two black labradors are the pets that CM Yogi Adityanath, an otherwise tough administrator known for his resolute handling of Uttar Pradesh’s criminals, has had for some time at Gorakhnath temple where he serves as the head of the influential Nath Hindu monastic movement and sect since 2014.
“While Kalu came from Delhi when Maharaj ji (Yogiji) was an MP, Gullu came from Devpatan Temple last year. Both are male. Maharaj ji spends at least 10-15 minutes with them each during the mornings and evenings,” Anand Gupta, staff member, Gorakhnath Temple, tells The New Indian.
Yogi Adityanath is an animal lover and has had pets since long, according to his associates and temple workers. One of his first dogs was named Raja.
His morning routine also includes feeding gur (jaggery) to cattle at the crack of dawn. “He then feeds biscuits and walks these pairs of dogs. They love to play with him and listen to his commands,” adds Gupta.
Temple lore also points at a stray incident when Yogi fed milk to an infant cheetah in his lap. This happened decades ago.
Veterinary experts and psychologists say these furry critters have been known to uncover the more human side of world leaders in crisis and jubilation. In June 2020, PM Narendra Modi had released a video of himself feeding grains to a peahen during his morning exercises. He had also dedicated a poem to the bird
“Putin is a well-known dog lover. He is said to have pet polar bears and Siberian tigers,” says Dr Saurabh, renowned veterinarian in Lucknow.
French President Emmanuel Macron is also a canine lover and often shares photographs of his dog, Nemo. Like Boris Johnson, Macron acquired his Labrador-Griffon cross dog from an animal shelter.
The Gorakhnath Matth, a monastery of the Nath monastic group named after the medieval saint, Gorakhnath, is home to more than 400-odd cattle already.