It’s widely known that cows are sacred in Hinduism but did you ever wonder why? In the Hindu faith, cows are considered to be generously bountiful. They represent life as well as the Earth and are regarded as ever-giving providers and nurturers of all creatures.
A popular misconception is that cows are worshiped by Hindus but this is simply not the case. Hindus do, however, adore, honor and have great respect for cows (which is why it is forbidden to kill and eat them in India). It’s not uncommon to see cows adorned with flowers, bells and even decorated with colorful splashes of paint.
When visiting India, it does take some time getting used to not only seeing cows just about everywhere but also skillfully manoeuvering around them. Simply put – cows rule. They rule the narrow alleyways where there’s barely enough space for one person let alone a cow, they rule the busy streets with cars (not so) carefully avoiding them. And they’re surprisingly very agile – steep stairs are no match for a cow no matter how much it weighs.
We were told that all the cows have owners – they’re not just randomly wandering the streets left to their own demise (although it certainly seems that way). I was a little confused by this seeing that most of the cows living in urban settings were rummaging through piles of garbage to feed themselves.
One of the big issues with cows roaming freely in the streets is that the streets are littered with their “activity” if you know what I mean. And cow “activity” is really big and really messy – it could literally project itself at any given moment! So while trying to appreciate the surroundings, we also spent a lot of time actually looking at the ground trying to avoid puddles of holy crap. For the most part we did avoid stepping into any cow business….notice I wrote for the most part.
That being said, I did find cows to be very photogenic and I enjoyed taking pictures of them in amusing and unexpected places. Here are a few of the sacred cows of India.
Read all about my travels in India!
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What are your thoughts on the sacred cows of India? Do you have any interesting encounters to share?