Monday, 16 May 2016

Village vignettes - Gavaramma worship

On the day after Sankranthi, the cows are worshipped. The image worshipped is a ball of cowdung, Gavaramma.

A  pyramid is erected with three sugarcane stems near the cowshed. A ball of cowdung, with eyes and nose fashioned on it, is placed there as the gavaramma. Kumkum is applied on it and turmeric is sprinkled over it. Three thendra or banana leaves are placed before it. Sometimes turmeric or mango leaves are instead placed. A sangati mudda (ball of rice and ragi which is usually made for meals), is cooked for the cattle in the cowshed on a small pot,  and is placed on the leaves with turmeric and kumkum. A  plate with burning camphor in it is circled before the cattle. Kumkum and turmeric is applied on their feet and foreheads.  A coconut is broken and the water is sprinkled on  them. The gavaramma is worshipped with camphor and incense sticks are stuck on it. The uppu chakka is sprinkled over the gavaramma. The cattle are then fed the food from the leaves. 

Only a community so close to cattle and to life could have evolved worship of cowdung.

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