The Cows of India

This blog is dedicated to my little sister Cailin and her love of cows. It was her birthday three days ago, and had internet in Myanmar cooperated enough I would have posted this on her birthday.  Unfortunately, it’s been nearly impossible to even load my blog and unimaginable to post anything.

Anyways, that’s my excuse.

Cows, and by extension all cattle, are considered sacred in Hindu culture, and have almost untouchable status within India.  Eating cattle meat is considered an extreme taboo, and even ownership of cattle is relatively rare. More often than not cows roam the streets, parks, and open space of India. They tend to not have an owner, and act more like stray dogs, finding places to sleep and food to scavenge.

It’s such an alien concept to most westerners to see free cattle that there is almost a degree of comedy attached to it. Indian cows do whatever they please and no one argues with it.  Cow sleeping on the sidewalk? Walk around. Walking through traffic? Slow down. A cow just being inconveniently in the middle of everything? Guess who wins that battle. And therein was the comedy of cows in India; doing whatever they felt like, humans be damned.

So this blog is for my sister Cailin, and her love of cows rubbing off on me in India.

Cute baby cow in the Himalayan foothills.  It's too bad I didn't get a clean shot of the cow, but it was virtually impossible... this calf wouldn't stand still for a second and was giddily jumping around almost the entire time
Cute baby cow in the Himalayan foothills. It’s too bad I didn’t get a clean shot of the cow, but it was virtually impossible… this calf wouldn’t stand still for a second and was giddily jumping around almost the entire time
A curious calf
A curious calf
Cow thugs lying in wait in the alley
Cow thugs lying in wait in the alley
Hungry cows swarming me for my papaya
Hungry cows swarming me for my papaya. In Rishikesh cheap fruit stands were everywhere.  I would buy a bagful of fruit, eat what I could, and then feed the skins and leftovers to excited cows.
This cow legitimately did a little happy jig when I dropped a piece of papaya.
This cow legitimately did a little happy jig when I dropped a piece of papaya.
This photo.... I was petting an adorable calf in Rishikesh getting ready to take a photo... when momma cow came over and headbutted me, knocking the camera out of my hand and taking this shot. Turned out that momma cow was just jealous, as after she headbutted me she just kept rubbing her head on my arm.  Photo credit Momma Cow
This photo…. I was petting an adorable calf in Rishikesh getting ready to take a photo… when momma cow came over and headbutted me, knocking the camera out of my hand and taking this shot. Turned out that momma cow was just jealous, as after she headbutted me she just kept rubbing her head on my arm.
Photo credit Momma Cow
A young calf on the farmstead in Phagwara, Punjab
A young calf on the farmstead in Phagwara, Punjab
Street side scavengers in Amritsar, Punjab
Street side scavengers in Amritsar, Punjab
An illegal loiterer at the Phagwara courthouse in Punjab.
An illegal loiterer at the Phagwara courthouse in Punjab.
A young Himalayan Yak that was hurt and wouldn't get up when we first saw it.  The poor calf had a wound on his leg, but thankfully he was up and walking when we passed him a second time a few hours later.
A young Himalayan Yak that was hurt and wouldn’t get up when we first saw it. The poor calf had a wounded leg, but thankfully he was up and walking when we passed him a second time a few hours later.
I mountain biked up to a small family festival in Solang Valley in the Himalayas, and this scruffy calf was a veritable street urchin, scrounging around for anything he could get.
I mountain biked up to a small family festival in Solang Valley in the Himalayas, and this scruffy calf was a veritable street urchin, scrounging around for anything he could get.

IMG_1551

IMG_1554

This cow was probably favorite.  The narrow Laxmanjulah bridge in Rishikesh is heavily traversed, and foot traffic is often slowed to a complete standstill.  Why? More often than not this one particular cow was standing in the middle. Unmoving, and unwilling to care in the slightest.
This cow was my favorite. The narrow Laxmanjulah bridge in Rishikesh is heavily traversed, and foot traffic is often slowed to a complete standstill. Why? More often than not this one particular cow was standing in the middle. Unmoving, and unwilling to care in the slightest.

Happy Birthday (+3 days) Cailin!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Cows of India

  1. Dawson,
    I’m sure that your sister absolute loves this blog, the many great pictures of cows which illustrates nicely where the cow might be seen, what the cow might be doing, etc, etc. Good job, Dawson. Love the mama cow ‘s help in taking a photo.! Hilarious.
    Do you know the background regarding the sacred status of cows in the culture, in India? Not sure that I do, so will take a few moments (?) for research.
    Love reading about your adventures.
    Dolores

    1. Hi Dolores,
      I wish I did know the background! I should’ve done a little research before I posted so as to save you some time! When the momma cow knocked my camera out of my hand I thought it was done for… I got lucky.

      I always appreciate the feedback!

      Yours,
      Dawson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s