Villagers threw cow faeces at each other and smeared themselves with dung during a day-long festival called ‘Gore Habba’ in the village of Gumatapura, as seen on footage from Thursday.
The villagers believe that the clothes and remains of a saint were dumped in a pit in the village, and took the shape of a ‘Linga’, a religious symbol, which got surrounded by cow excrement.
Cow manure is said to have been highly revered by the local deity Kare Eshwaraswamy, according to the villagers, who collected it and deposited it behind the local temple.
“People used to ask us why we play in cow dung. As we all know cow dung is organic and it has a lot of medicinal value even if we have any infections and diseases it will be cured. We are doing this believing our god will protect us”, said a local participant, while carrying cow dung on his head during an interview.
The ritual of throwing cow dung at one another during Diwali has existed in Gumatapura for centuries and has become an entertainment event, attracting people from the nearby areas of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.