India has a large percentage of the world’s cattle. There are a lot of cows everywhere in the country. They are considered very sacred and holy. They are worshipped and are adopted by temples, houses and a lot of gaushalas. The cow has become a symbol of Hinduism and is mostly worshipped and seen extensively in south India. But in the other places too cows are considered very holy; like on the 12th day of the 12th month of the Hindu calendar, a cow ritual is performed in Jodhpur palace, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.
It all began in the Vedic Period. The cow was venerated as the mother goddess in the early Mediterranean civilizations. The cow became important in India, first in the Vedic period (1500 – 900 BCE), but only as a symbol of wealth. The Puranas, ancient Hindu scriptures, have it that nothing is more pious than the gift of cows. “There is no gift that produces more blessed merit.” Lord Rama was given a dowry of thousands of cows and bullocks when he married Sita.
Cows are also thought to be cleansers. Cow dung is considered a great disinfectant. Without cow and the products that come out of milk, no puja or sacrifice is completed. It is also believed that a cow is an embodiment of the gods and the goddesses.