Cows in the streets of India: a photo essay

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.

The cows.

They’re everywhere!

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.

Cows in the streets of India - Varanasi

Sometimes you wish they would mooove out of the way

Cows in the streets of India

It’s udderly bonkers

Cows in the streets of India

Cows on the streets? Have you ever herd of such a thing?

Cows in the streets of India - Jaipur

Right I’ll stop with the cow puns. Think I’m milking it a bit now.

Cows in the streets of India

Just mingling in with the traffic

Cows in the streets of India

I’ll just take this spot on a busy road

Cows on the streets of India - Varanasi

“Hello? There’s a cow beside me.”

Cows in the streets of India

Walking past some cows

Cows in the streets of India
Two cows walking along a busy road

Cows on the streets of India

A cow eating sugar snap peas from a bin

Cows on the streets of India

Don’t have a cow, man.

As well as cows on the streets of India, there are goats

Two goats kidding around

Goats in the streets of India

A goat contemplating yoga

Camel in the streets of India

And for good measure, here’s a camel

Have you ever been a country where animals command such respect they freely wander the streets?

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