It was like any other marriage. Hundreds of jubilant ‘baraatis’ danced to the tunes of trumpets and drums as priests recited mantras in majestic settings. The 40 couples clad in red and gold were not men and women, but bulls and cows!
The grand wedding was held as per Hindu traditions at Jarkhod cow shelter in Deeg town of Bharatpur district in Rajasthan on Saturday.
The organisers, who run the shelter, said thousands of people from as far as Shillong in Meghalaya, and Mumbai, Delhi, Mathura, Chandigarh, as well as from 10 neighbouring villages attended the grand ceremony. Guests were accommodated in around 200 cottages built for the occasion.
Rajendra Das, the shelter in-charge, said they had received “Rs 25 lakh as blessings” and it would be used for the upkeep and development of the shelter, which houses more than 5,000 bovines.
Gopesh, who work at the shelter, said 40 bulls were brought for the wedding from Pathmeda Gaushala, said to be the biggest cow shelter in India, located in western Rajasthan.
“The cows will be impregnated by the native breed of bulls so that their numbers increase,” he said, stressing on the importance of cows in Hinduism.
People who participated in the ceremony were of similar view, saying, every Hindu should own a cow for the preservation of the religion.
Smuggling of cows for slaughter is a thriving business in Mewat region in eastern Rajasthan along the border with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Forty cases have been registered against smugglers till July this year as compared to 65 in 2015 under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995. At least 39 police outposts were created in 2014 for cow protection, of which six are in Mewat region.
People from Jarkhod cow shelter, which was established four years ago to provide care to abandoned and sick bovines, said such marriages would be organised every year to facilitate increase in animal numbers.