India is a country rich in culture and tradition. And although India is changing, one thing remains the same: the cow is sacred. And believe it or not, the cow is so 1)revered here that men and women actually coat their heads and faces…with cow urine.
For the Hindus of northern India, the cow is not a typical farm animal. These 2)bovine represent motherhood, and their milk sustains and nourishes them. But in this case it's not the milk these men and women are waiting for: it's the urine. Known as a sacred gift from the cow, the urine is commonly sprinkled in the home to protect the surroundings.
Woman: These sprinkles beautify our house and keep away evil.
But this unusual practice doesn't stop there. These men actually rub cow urine into their hair. Some even splash it right on their face.
Man: I begin my day with splashing some of it in my eyes, my head, and consuming a little. It is, you know, one of the finest things one can have.
And this extreme form of worshipping is not a passing 3)fad: it's been around for centuries.
Man: I have been consuming the cow urine for many, many years today.
Surprisingly, cow urine is even used by residents as a form of medical treatment. Locals believe it cures anything from liver disease to 4)obesity and cancer. Believe it.
Hindi believers 5)demonstrate their humility and devotion by making an offering of hair.
Incredibly, 12,000 heads are shaved every day. That means the city is constantly full of hairless worshippers. One local man has even trained his elephant to bestow blessings on the freshly shaven. Often waiting for 10 hours or more, worshippers finally enter the shaving area. Using straight-edged razors, the temple's 1,600 barbers are so efficient, they average over 15 heads an hour. The temple then sells the mounds of freshly-shorn hair to local wigmakers. The money is used to help the area's poor and ensure the amazing hair temple of India keeps going at a steady 6)clip. Believe it.