Dozens of exuberant villagers in the village of Gummatapura, located on the borders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, scoop up handfuls of cow dung for the Gorehabba festival.
This local tradition concludes India’s most important festival, Diwali.
“There is no harm to health, whatever the devotees seek, the lord Beereshwara fulfils their wishes. We trust that there is no ill effect on health and we celebrate this pomp and gaiety” says bus driver Shankar.
While engineer Chetan Kumar says, “our village deity is Beereshwara Swamy, and we have a strong religious belief that the lord was born in the cow dung as a believer and to show our gratitude, the next day after Diwali, we celebrate the cow dung festival.
“This festival enhances the bonding among the villagers and this has medicinal value too and has health benefits. This festival is celebrated, keeping the religious and medical benefits” he adds.
Gummatapura and surrounding villages accumulate heaps of cow dung in their sheds and the young boys and men go door to door collecting the heaps as part of this age-old custom. The collected cow dung is then brought to the village temple.