Katrina, Priyanka and Deepika ‘chose’ their bridegroom at a swayamwar. No, it wasn’t the Bollywood stars but goats which got married at a unique ‘Bakri Ka Swayamwar’ that drew over 1,000 people to Pantwari village in Tehri Garhwal, some 100 km from Dehradun, on Friday.
Amid Vedic chants and hymns, Katrina ‘married’ Chandu, Deepika with Tukun and Priyanka with Beasaku. From ‘mangal snan’ (auspicious bath) to decorating the goats, every ritual was performed like any other Hindu wedding.
The Green People (a community that runs home stays in Uttarkashi and Mussoorie) and local villagers held the event to spread awareness on scientific advancements in livestock rearing. “The gene pool of these goats has to improve for boosting quality and quantity of milk. Cross-breeding has taken a toll on its gene pool. The goats don’t give enough milk and are sold off for meat,” Animal Husbandry Department director Avinash Anand told Hindustan Times.
The animal husbandry department supported the swayamwar at the village. The community is already selling farm produce of regional micro-farmers under the banner of Bakri Chaap. This latest initiative will ensure improves breed of goats having higher milk production.
“It is for the first time that any priest is conducting such a wedding. I am fortunate to have participated in the event,” Dinesh Prasad, the priest for the ‘weddings’, said.
Goat rearing is diminishing in the hills of Uttarakhand, claim locals. And wrong practices of breeding are to be blamed for it. “There was no one to guide us how to maintain gene pool of our goats. So, we crossbred owing to which the quality of offspring degraded. We now have people to guide us and will again take up goat rearing,” Sumo Devi, 70, said.
One group played traditional musical instruments Dhol and Damau adding to the fervour of the ‘weddinga’. Over 200 women and men staged the traditional Jaunpuri dance and sang on the beats of Dhol. To promote the swayamwar, the owners of male goats were offered excursion trip of two days each.
The herbivores were taken to the Goat Village situated nearly 5km from Pantwari. The Green People members will keep the herbivores in their custody. A similar event was proposed at Raithal, Uttarkashi in six months to support the cause of saving goats.