Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Cows of Nepal

Although Indian cities are famous for having sacred cows wandering about the streets, I was very disappointed to not see a single cow in downtown Delhi. Turns out the government's been trying to shift them out of the central city as part of modernization efforts.

Luckily for cow lovers in Nepal, neither Kathmandu nor Pokhara officials have adopted this Indian policy. As you can see from this utterly typical snapshot from Pokhara Lakeside, cows roam the streets freely. In fact, they placidly understand themselves to be more important than anyone or anything else ... such as taxis and buses which must swerve around them.

During rush hour in the middle of an extremely busy street in Kathmandu last week, I was surprised to see two cows lying as quietly and contentedly as though they were in a field of hay for their midday nap, one's head rested on the other's flank. You could tell they thought less of the cars, trucks, and motorcycles rocketing by than they would some flies buzzing around their tails.

Being a cow fan myself, it's quite pleasant to have them roaming the streets. Although sometimes it can be disconcerting -- the thin, extremely vertical path to the World Peace Pagoda was blocked by a cow for about 30 minutes yesterday, who having gotten herself into such a predicament near the top of the hill, decided to chew cud for awhile before extricating herself from it. Hikers on both ends of the path - descending and ascending - had to wait.

If you are in Sombor Serbia reading this and you want to imagine how it would be to have independent cows (owned by no one) living downtown, next time you go for a walk and see a stray dog, just mentally imagine that dog is a cow instead.


Anonymous said...

What is the fate of cow excretion on those placid streets? I don't imagine they have pooper scooper laws in Nepal?

Rosemary Bailey Brown said...

Good point - unlike dogs here who carefully poo on the side of the road or in back alley corners, Nepal's cows are not concerned about the fate or placement of their poo. This means you do have to keep an eye out when walking on the sidewalk and streets. It also means when you are out at night on an unlit street, you'd better wipe your shows very carefully before coming inside.