Feeding the holy cows of Ahmedabad
Holy cattle’s breakfast
Soon after daybreak, the Manek Chowk square area resounds with early morning walkers. Their slow paced footsteps - Prabhat Pheri - accompanied by devotional songs or bhajans as they make their way to the square to feed the holy cattle their morning meal. The same square which was lined with fast food carts the previous night!
Cows freely roam the streets of Ahmedabad. For Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Zoroastrianism, cattle are sacred animals. The important custom is rooted in the beliefs of Chandogya Upanishad who lived a millennium before Christ and championed the ethical value of Ahimsa, or non-violence towards all beings. Since then food and feasting on animal slaughter are considered as a form of violence against life and can impact one’s rebirth.
Nice to know
Official data show that in 2015 there were 10 million cows in deeply religious state of Gujarat in 2012, 1 cow for every 6 residents.