21 January 2008

Cow Pongal

Attended a very sweet cow worship over the Pongal Festival. Cow Pongal is always the third day of the January Festival and wherever celebrated in Tamil Nadu, follows much the same format. The whole cow area will be cleaned, cows bathed and their horns painted. Some cows may even get jewellery or trinklets put around their neck. In the below a kolam (auspicious drawing) is being made at the front of the cow shed.

In the below is Lakshmi, who is a young cow belonging to one of the ladies of the family. Already Lakshmi's future has been decided and she will be kept as a pet, no rigours of constant motherhood and commercial milk production. Artificial insemination is commonly used to impregnate cows. In this respect a visit to the Government Veterninary Centre in Tiruvannamalai is an interesting experience as that is where many of the local cows are artifically impregnated.

As to Lakshmi, as she is not a trained animal she definitely must have some kind of regal karma, notice over the next photographs, how she presents herself for her Pongal flower garland. What a diva!

The next photograph is of one of babies of the dairy. Its an interesting experience having a dairy so close to my home because I can reminded first hand of the business of 'milk production'. And I must admit to being guilty of perpetuating the whole dairy cycle, because my dogs and I, do get through alot of milk products. The neighouring dairy is wonderful compared to most, and the cows have a comparatively lucky, peaceful life, however its a constant reminder of just how badly we exploit our little bretherns.

Whatever it is - one thing is for sure the below calf is a 100% knockout - what a darling.

The below is the inside of the little rustic dairy. Happily most of these cows get to spend the days outside in the nice sun and peaceful surrounds.

In the below some goats, who don't actually have such a protected life as the dairy cows - as an animal activist from Andhra Pradesh once told me, 'Everytime you see a goat - you see meat on the hoof - they are all for slaughter.'

One of the ladies making last minute preparations for Pongal puja at the cow shed.

A worker at the dairy had prepared a lemon, by incising a cross on the top which is then filled with red kumkum powder and packed with camphor. The camphor will be lit and then waved as jyothi during the puja.

Once the lemon is used, then the same thing happens with a white pumpkin. After the camphor is burned off, the pumpkin will be smashed and broken on the ground to ward of evil and negative vibrations.

The smokey haze in the below, is that of frankincense which has been wafted as a purifying agent all around the cow shed. These little ones are just hanging out together in mutual companionship, wondering at all the madness of the day - well one big plus for all the cows is they had their fill of special treats including LOTS of bananas.


Arunachala Living said...

Its nice to see the cows having some kind of natural life.

Divya said...

Yes, at least they have a much better life than dairy cattle here in USA. Thanks for all the lovely pictures and interesting facts!