by Antonio Gil October. 12, 2015 3362 views

At first glance, a pile of freshly deposited cow dung on the road may not seem like much more than, well, a freshly laid pile of cow dung. Yet after traveling India’s countryside, tourists begin to see this natural resource as Indians do. There are more than 283 million cows roaming the terrain of India. That equates to more than 700 million tons of manure produced daily which needs to be collected, distributed, discarded or somehow otherwise used. Amazingly little is wasted due to the ingenuity of India’s rural population. Lack of firewood or brush means many of India’s rural are forced to turn to cow dung for their energy needs. Dung is then mixed with straw or charcoal, formed into melon-sized balls, and pressed firmly against a wall with good sun exposure. In good weather the round flat discs (roughly 8″ in diameter) are dry and ready for burning in 3 to 4 days. The storage of dried cow dung discs varies based on the region of India. In the villages where traditions still run deep, marvelous stacks of cow dung are erected. The higher the stack, the more influence you have within the village.

Cooking with cow dung is not much different from using wood or other gases. A flame is ignited under pots and pans, fanned or cooled to achieve the right temperature and quickly stopped when cooking is complete. Smoke from the fire is said to enhance the flavor of food. Many Indians will swear the taste of food when cooked over cow dung coals is far superior versus food cooked using regular gas or kerosene.


Small blocks of cow dung shaped as an house

Cow dung in the sun to dry (in the middle of the road)


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There are 15 comments , add yours!
Ros Mercury 4 years, 7 months ago

Guess at the start one would be a bit reluctant to use the cow dung, but like everything else after a while you don't even see it anymore or see a difference. Well documented and interesting.

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Jay 4 years, 7 months ago

This just makes me wanna grab something to eat. Hmmmm..... Informative and nicely documented. I remember throwing dried 'buffalo chips' (as we call cow or buffalo dung in the panhandle of Oklahoma) in a contest and winning, back when I was a uni-student. I flung dung the furthest, dang it all!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
David Cardona 4 years, 7 months ago

Wonderful report! I added first one into my favorites. Thank you! :D

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Sara G 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, thanks for that education :-) I know for a fact roses prefer it!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Kara Bana 4 years, 7 months ago

I can just imagine the smell, yikes!
But they are very industrious, using what they have.

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Liz M 4 years, 7 months ago

fantastic information!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Mike Meliska 4 years, 7 months ago

More great shots...

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Eiram Marie 4 years, 7 months ago

Interesting post!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 4 years, 7 months ago

Nothing goes to waste in India! Not even the waste, goes to waste! Holy s**t from Holy cows......what a "righteous" cooking fuel! (((grin))) Love the fascinating information! So cool, that an individual's influence, in the village, is determined by how high he/she can pile on the BS!!! Kind of reminds me of some politicians! (((grin))) Great camera work, as always, Antonio!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Larry Sample 4 years, 7 months ago

Who knew? Great shots and education!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Chossid 4 years, 7 months ago

Ummm... Very resourceful and I'm sure necessary. But.... Still not appetizing ;-)
Nice shots. In a way they remind me of the Ukrainian haystacks and rolls.

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Francesc 4 years, 7 months ago

I follow all of your shots about India, Wonderful work

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Olga Helys 4 years, 7 months ago


4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Marilyn Grimble 4 years, 7 months ago

Well - what d'yer know!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
Paolo Martini 4 years, 7 months ago

On the Road .. Great captures, Antonio !!!

4 years, 7 months ago Edited
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