One of the most enjoyable things about travelling is coming across something you find extraordinary but that is so mundane and everyday to locals, they go about their lives without giving it a second thought.
Visiting India, there is one thing that strikes every foreigner almost immediately.
As you walk down a street, a full size cow will blithely wander past. In a taxi, you’ll drive past a cow sitting in the centre of a busy road, cheerfully indifferent to the traffic accidents it will almost definitely cause. You’ll come out of a shop and a cow will be sitting on the pavement, waiting for you.
There is reason for this. Hindus consider the cow a sacred animal, exalted for giving humans milk and feeding us without really taking much in return apart from a bit of grass. Feeding a cow is seen as an act of holiness and goodness.
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “One can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world.”
So there you go. In India, cows can go wherever they like. Here’s my photo essay of cows in the streets of India.
Sometimes you wish they would mooove out of the way
It’s udderly bonkers
Cows on the streets? Have you ever herd of such a thing?
Right I’ll stop with the cow puns. Think I’m milking it a bit now.
Just mingling in with the traffic
I’ll just take this spot on a busy road
“Hello? There’s a cow beside me.”
Walking past some cows
Two cows walking along a busy road
A cow eating sugar snap peas from a bin
Don’t have a cow, man.
As well as cows on the streets of India, there are goats
Two goats kidding around
A goat contemplating yoga
And for good measure, here’s a camel
Have you ever been a country where animals command such respect they freely wander the streets?