By Bilal Kuchay
In a bizarre custom, thousands of people from two different groups in an Indian village waged a war against each other by throwing cow dung cakes for ‘good health’.
A day after Ugadi festivities- the local spring festival every year, Kairuppala village in Andhra Pradesh in southern India resounds with the thwack and tang of flying cow dung.
Horde of people gather and participate in the ‘Pidakala War’ or cow-dung cake- a symbolic war over a mythological marriage dispute.
The custom started long ago when Lord Veerabhadraswamy, a fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva wanted to marry Goddess Bhadrakali but there was opposition to the wedding and it led to a dispute.
Back then, the choice of weapon of the people from Goddess Badhrakali’s side was cow dung cakes. During the battle, one group of the fighters throw cow dung in the name of Goddess and the others do so in the name of the Lord.
To mark the wedding of the two Gods, the devotees till day celebrate the wedding by throwing several lorries of cow dung cakes at each other and the fight ends after the cakes break into small pieces or powder.
The custom, which is held every year at Veerabhadra Swamy temple, attracts thousands of people from various parts of the state, who passionately watch the event for hours while sitting on top of the buildings.
Some devotees look so passionate for the battle that they enter into the temple dancing on the drum beats.
The popular belief of the people participating in the war is that the practice brings health, prosperity and rains to the villages.