Indian Village Ends Diwali With Massive Cow Dung Battle

The small Indian village of Gummatapura is famous all over the world for its unique way of ending the annual Diwali celebrations – a massive cow dung battle called “Gorehabba”.

Spain has La Tomatina, a famous battle with tomatoes, Italy has the traditional Ivrea Battle of Oranges, and India has Gorehabba, a cow dung battle to end the important Diwali festivities. That may seem like an insult to Indian festivities, but only to those ignorant to the importance and significance of cow dung in Indian culture. It’s held in such high regard that companies use it as an ingredient for beauty products, handcrafted art, and even radiation repelling devices. Some claim it can even ward off the coronavirus… So yes, hurling cow dung at each other is far from disgusting for the dozens who participate in Gorehabba.

The day of the cow dung battle begins with the collection of “ammunition” from cow-owning homes in the village of Gummatapura, on the border between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The manure is piled onto tractors pulled by cattle adorned with marigold flowers, and brought to a local temple where priests perform a blessing ritual.

The blessed cow dung is dumped in an open area of Gummatapura, and topless daredevils rush to it to prepare their projectiles. The battle is a fierce one, with bits of manure flying all over the place, and by-standards brave enough to stick around to film the proceedings risk getting hit by stray shrapnel.

 

For the young men taking part in Gorehabba, hurling and getting hit with balls of cow dung is both about fun and a belief in the benefits of manure. Many believe that simply touching the blessed dung with your hands, you can be cured of all diseases, and have a big chance of never getting sick. That’s a big deal, especially during a global pandemic.

In case you’re wondering how the Gorehabba cow dung battle began, apparently locals believe that one of their deities, Beereshwara Swamy, was born in cow dung.

 

Interestingly, this is not the only famous cow dung battle in India. The people of Kairuppala, a village in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, also engage in an epic cow dung cake battle which loves dozens injured every year.

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