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11 November 2013 / leggypeggy

Holy cow—it’s a Holy Cow

Holy Cow and priest, India

A heavily decorated Holy Cow and his minder. Photo by Gary Foster

You don’t often expect a slang expression to come to life, but that’s exactly what happened the other day as we drove through central India on our way to visit a national park.

Suddenly there they were—a priest and his heavily decorated Holy Cow—moseying toward us on the edge of the road.

This cow, which in this case was a bull, was deemed holy because of an unusual lump on its neck. It’s deformities such as this that set a Holy Cow apart.

Holy Cow and priest, India

On the road. Photo by Gary Foster

According to Deepti and Anand, if you own a Holy Cow (usually a female), you and your cow can’t just laze around.

You can choose to travel the countryside with it spreading holy messages and inspiration. Or you can give the cow to a priest who will take on the job.

Either way, a cow and its carer walk from village to village, sharing hope and  faith. In return, villagers feed and house the priest and cow.

Deepti and Anand travel extensively in India and say they don’t see Holy Cows very often, so I consider myself blessed and privileged to have seen one in action. The priest stopped to let us take photos and we tipped him generously, which was only right.

Not every day that you see a Holy Cow.


Leave a Comment
  1. Kubra / Nov 11 2013 5:43 am

    I simply loved this. You are one lucky woman. 🙂


  2. lmo58 / Nov 11 2013 5:42 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    I also think you’re lucky to have seen a holy cow. But I’m a bit worried by all the decoration around his face. I wonder if it’s uncomfortable? Thank you for another very interesting story.


    • leggypeggy / Nov 15 2013 4:43 am

      I think the Holy Cow lives a pretty cushy life, so I wouldn’t worry much about the get-up. It’s all part of the job. 🙂


  3. Wanda Causby Rabb / Nov 15 2013 3:33 pm

    All I can really say is HOLY COW! How interesting!


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