“Stepping into Goshala, you get a distinctly different feeling. The atmosphere is serene yet charged. A sense of being in the presence of an invisible, though strong force – something maternal, protecting, compassionate pervades you. You’re in the cradle of love, so you can’t but help stretch out an arm to caress a cow, calf or bull.”
– Radhika De, who volunteered at the Goshala in the Art of Living International Center, Bangalore
The primary aim of our Goshala is to preserve indigenous varieties of cows and to increase their numbers. In the past over 100 different varieties of cows used to exist in India, most of them are now extinct. Only 30 of the species survive.
The indigenous cows are disease resistant and the milk produced by them is highly nutritional. Their urine has high medicinal value. Cow dung has been used as a fertilizer in natural farming for ages. Our attempt is to ensure that the existing varieties of cows don’t get lost due. We also wish to ensure that homeless cows find a shelter in our Goshalas.
We have been protecting various indigenous breeds at our Goshalas. The primary varieties of cows that we currently house include the Ongol from Andhra Pradesh, Kangayan from Tamil Nadu, the Gir from Gujarat and the Sahiwal from Punjab.
How does the journey look so far?
Goshala houses over 300 cows
Goshala houses over 85 cows
of cows protected through these initiatives
How did we work?
We started off the Goshala by procuring those breeds of cows whose numbers are dwindling from across the country. Now we actively encourage farmers who visit our centers to keep indigenous varieties instead of exotic ones.
The cows in our Goshala are treated with utmost care and affection. The organic milk from the cows is sold to raise funds and the dung is fed into a bio-gas plant. The slurry from the bio-gas plant released is utilized as manure for the fields.
What did we learn?
The indigenous varieties of cows that we are trying to preserve used to be fairly common in the countryside around two decades ago. In recent times, exotic varieties like Jersey and Holstein Friesian have been widely adopted owing to better milk yields.
These cows however are highly susceptible to diseases. Many farmers have attempted to cross breed indigenous cows with these exotic cows thereby diluting the gene pool and making the preservation initiatives important.
How can you contribute?
We plan to start Goshalas in our other centers so that we can continue our efforts to preserve these indigenous species.