This Indian village celebrates the festival of cow dung to mark the end of Diwali | Latest India News
Cheerful crowds threw handfuls of cow manure at each other this weekend as part of a village’s local ritual to mark the end of Diwali, India’s most important Hindu festival.
Similar to “La Tomatina” in Spain – the eccentric celebration of the local tomato fruit – the people of Gumatapura instead throw snowballs of a more earthy variety.
The Gorehabba Festival begins with the afternoon’s collection of “ammunition” from the homes of cow owners in the village, located on the border of the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Manure is brought to the local temple on tractor wagons, before a priest performs a blessing ritual.
After that, the droppings are dumped in an open area – with men and boys floundering around to prepare their weapons for the battle ahead.
Every year people flock to Gumatapura from remote towns, and for those who attend, the disorderly battle is as much about the fun as it is about the perceived health benefits.
“If they have a disease, it will be cured,” said Mahesh, a farmer at the festival on Saturday.
Some Hindus believe that cows and everything they produce are sacred and cleansing.
Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed for greater protection of animals, and many Indian states have long banned their slaughter for meat.
Members of Modi’s party have touted the use of cow urine to prevent and cure Covid-19 and other diseases.
His government is also seeking to encourage the production of toothpastes, shampoos and mosquito repellants from cattle waste.