15 January 2013

Cow Pongal 2013

Beautiful darshan of Arunachala from the ARS

The third day of Pongal is dedicated to cattle and is called Mattu Pongal. People offer prayers to the bulls, cows and other farm animals. Cows and bulls have always held a special place in India. Cows give nourishing milk while bulls and oxen help plough the fields. Thus, Mattu Pongal is a day when cattle are given a well deserved day of rest and are given pride of place. Therefore the farmers honour their cattle friends by celebrating it as a day of thanks-giving to them.

Front Gate to ARS

Special Kolam Decorations Throughout

I decided to celebrate Mattu Pongal (Cow Pongal) at the Annamalai Reforestation Society as I knew that it would be a good occasion watching them bathe and decorate their nine cows and bullocks. 

Charming Shrines at the ARS

Legend for this day: Lord Ganesh and Goddess Parvati are worshipped and Pongal is offered to them in the 'puja'. According to a legend, once Shiva asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. Inadvertently, Basava announced that everyone should eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. This mistake enraged Shiva who then cursed Basava, banishing him to live on the earth forever. He would have to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Thus the association of this day with cattle. 

Beautiful Healthy Bulls at the ARS
Bath Time -- one for each

On this celebratory, joyous day cattle are washed, their horns are painted and they are fed with Pongal and given a day of quiet and rest. 

I was particularly fascinated to watch their feed being prepared in the custom made troughs at the ARS. I have been informed that the ingredients are as follows: Bran Husk, Groundnut Oil Cake, Black Gram Powder, Fried Gram Skin, Rock Salt, Urad Dhal Powder – all mixed up with water into a nice soup. From the gusto that the cows and bulls approached their feed – can definitely state that they approved of lunch. 

Yummy Lunch Being Prepared

How beautiful with their flowers and blue horns!

Mani manager of Farm with lady helpers

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