On Gratitude: Shankranti, The Harvest Festival

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This is is Shankranti, the harvest festival. A day to be thankful for the fruits of the labors of the cow. Kumar said, “We are worshipping the cow like our mother, because the cow gives us milk.”

Kumar suggested we walk part of the way down to the big Nandi Bull and he would pick us up. We agreed it was a fabulous idea. There are over 1,000 steps to get up to the top of Chamundi Hill. We did not climb them today, but it was fun to walk part of that path down to the sacred Nandi Bull (Shiva’s vehicle). Kumar was waiting there for us.

On we went to a spectacular event. The running of the ‘bulls’ of sorts. During Shankranti, people decorate their cows in honor of the festival and bring them to an event where the cows jump over the fire. We drove down from Chamundi to an open field and Kumar said, ‘Here we will see the cows jump over the fire’. So we parked and thought maybe we should leave and come back, but suddenly, we heard drums and 20-30 decorated cows proceeded around a corner running toward us.. We all kind of hid behind the car and the cows ran past us. It was totally amazing. We followed them into the field and took photos. They stood throughout the field in their colorful array of decoration. Kumar said to me, “Samia, shall we go to the rooftop?” The owner of the building across the street invited us up to the best view in the house.  After they lit the fire and the cows ran through, it was said and done in 1 minute and 45seconds.