BABIES and children are being rolled in cow dung as part of a bizarre Indian ritual which their parents believe will bring them luck.
Its a tradition that Indians believe will bring their children good luck and protect them from disease.
And scores of parents have been lining up in the tiny village of Betul in Madhya Pradesh to roll their youngsters in cow pat.
People in the small village believe that smearing the dung on their young sons and daughters help to give them a healthy life free from ailments.
Women perform a special Hindu prayer called the “Gowardhan Pooja” before dunking their kids in piles of cow pat in a ceremony which last from sunrise to sunset, with all villagers taking a turn at placing their children in the excrement.
Despite their attempts to escape, the youngsters are forced to stay and roll around in the dung, which is covered in decorative orange flowers.
The ritual is centuries old and takes place annually the day after Diwali, India’s biggest Hindu festival.
It is practised by the residents of Besul in the Madhya Pradesh region, who believe the ritual will bring their children good health and protect them from diseases.
However, doctors have raised their concerns over the tradition – saying it could be dangerous for kids.
Dr Mangilal Rathore of Pooja Hospital in Betul said: “It is an old practice followed by a particular community here.
“I would not criticise it but at the same time I would not advise it as it could be seriously dangerous for the children, especially if they have some wounds or open injuries.
“The bacteria in cow dung could also harm the sensitive skin of children.”
Cows are one of the most sacred animals in Hinduism, with many preachers believing that cow urine and dung have medicinal properties.