five legged cow (india)


This calf has an extra leg attached to the top of her neck.­ This is a birth defect called Polymelia, where conjoint twins starts developing but one twin degenerated completely except for one or more limbs, which end up attached to the other twin.­

With cows, the one or two extra limbs are often attached to the top of the cow's neck.­ This extra legs are shrunken, deformed and non-functional, and they get strange long nails (since the nails on normal cow legs get worn by walking).­

In India, when a calf is born with extra leg or two, this is like winning the jackpot: those 5 legged and 6 legged cows are seen are very holy, and the owner will parade them around and receive donations from Hindu devotees.­

These two calves (one with 5 legs, and the other one with 6 legs) were transported around the city in a specially designed motor rickshaw, covered with images of the famous "Sai Baba" (not sure why).­

For more info about Polymelia, go to en.­wikipedia.­org/­wiki/­Polymelia.

Photo taken in Varanasi - also known as Benares (India).­

For more info about Varanasi, go to en.­wikipedia.­org/­wiki/­Varanasi.

5 legged cow baby cow calf five legged cow hand holding holy cow legs offerings painted polymelia touching varanasi
Bulanala Maidagin Road, Ramapura Luxa, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001, India

Photos taken in the Hindu Holy city of Varanasi - also know as Benares (India).­

For more info about Varanasi, go to en.­wikipedia.­org/­wiki/­Varanasi

Photos of cows, and related bovine animals (e.­g.­ calves, oxes, bulls, water buffaloes, yacks).­

I have not included photos of butchered cows (body-parts and meat, i.­e.­ beef).­ Those can be seen in my Meat Markets series.

Photos taken in India in 2013

The highlight if this trip was the Maha Kumba Mela Hindu Festival, the largest human gathering on earth, which happens once every 12 years.­

Other regions visited include the springs of the Ganges river, Varanasi, the Konark sun temple.­

See also my photos of Nepal that I took the same year.­