|Vibuthi being made at a Karaikal unit.|
Cow is seen as a goddess of wealth. So ‘goshalas’ are set up in temples but the ‘goshala’ at Sri Kasi Viswanathaswamy Devasthanam at Melavanjur, established in 1892 by the Sri Sankara Mutt in Kancheepuram, has taken up a series of activities.
Production of ‘vibuthi’ Holy Ash using cow dung, got at Goshala, has been a major activity. The gosala has about 50 animals - 10 calves, 10 bulls and 30 cows. About 10 kg of dung is got from each animal every day and it is converted into two kg of ‘vibuthi’, says its administrator, B. Ganapathy Subramanian, who is an auditor.
The cow dung, rolled into balls, is collected and dried up. The balls get heated up when the purest form of ‘vibuthi’ is got. It is filtered before being packed as ‘Sri Sankara Vibuthi.’ There has been a growing demand for this quality vibuthi and the returns have been so encouraging that the Sri Sankara Mutt does not receive any donation for maintenance of this gosala, says Mr. Ganapathy Subramanian.
On an average, he could market 800 kg of ‘vibuthi’ to its customers - mostly religious institutions and temples such as Sri Gnaananda Ashramam at Thapovanam near Tirukoilur and other temples in Hyderabad and Kasi.
He says that value-addition in cow dung would fetch attractive returns and he has been imparting training on making ‘vibuthi’ to a number of unemployed youth in the nearby area. The product is free from any adulteration and is in its purest form. It is sold through the Sri Sankara Mutt’s branches all over the country.
His wife, Bharathi, who has been coordinating the programme, says that there has been a growing demand for the quality ‘vibuthi’ and the cow dung should be utilised optimally.
The returns from the sale of ‘vibuthi’ has been quite adequate to meet the expenditure for maintenance of the gosala, wages for workers and other overheads, he said, indicating that the cows could be best utilised as a means for promoting rural economy.
The Devasthanam, in its another service, has been exchanging old cows from farmers in the vicinity and gives them healthy and lactating ones. “Under this programme, we ensure that the farmer gets an assured income. The farmer should give calves of his new cow to the Devasthanam,” he adds.
There has been a strong case for raising fodders.
Source: The Hindu