Jungle Book: Holy Cow! All forgot about the bull, except Sringeri

Gir bulls are considered to be among the most masculine and good looking.

There's the sad story of Komna village in Odisha's Nuapada district where the locals, wanting to breed the imported Jersey breed of cattle, prevented cows from crossing with the indigenous 'Khariar breed' bulls with disastrous effects by castrating the bulls. The bulls went almost extinct, and the yield from the cows, too, declined drastically.

Then there's happy the story from the Sringeri Sharada Peetham. At the Sringeri math, nestled in the Western Ghats, temple authorities are feeding thousands of people who visit the Math from across the world with milk and milk products produced from cows fathered by Gir (or Gyr) bulls that come from the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The Gir cows are said to be the best breed of milch cows in India, producing as much as 12 litres of milk, with 4.5 percent fat content, a day during peak milking time. One Gir cow in Brazil was recorded to have yielded 62 litres of milk in a day.

"We have four Gir bulls that cross with the female cows in our Goshala. About 40 Gir cows in the Goshala yield around 200 liters of milk every day in two shifts" temple staff told Deccan Chronicle. "The milk is used for Abhishekam and to make prasadam for hundreds of devotes who visit the temple every day".

As bulls go, the Gir bulls are considered to be among the most masculine and good looking. They generally have a big head and a long face with a convex forehead that is said to be an unusual feature that acts as a cooling radiator for the brain and pituitary gland. Their long ears are excellent insect swatters, their horns rise up and then go down and backwards, and the Gir's hump is said to be the largest among the Zebu breeds originating in India. At the Sringeri Math, a majestic-looking six-year-old Gunda is the current favourite bull of visitors as it is taken for a walk around the premises everyday.

Sadly, Gujarat itself is now facing a declining Gir cattle population. So much so that in February, the Gujarat government decided to import 10,000 doses of Gir bull semen from Brazil. Punjab, too, wants to do the same. Ironically, the semen will come from descendants of Gir bulls gifted to Brazil before Independence by the Maharaja of Bhavnagar in Gujarat. Brazil has bred and improved the Girs and now boasts of some 40 lakh Gir cow population. The South American country is now, in fact, the biggest exporter of Indian cow breeds!

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story