Revellers sling animal dung at each other at packed annual cow poo festival

Revellers were seen throwing cow poo at one another to mark the end of a religious festival.

Crowds in Gumatapura, India, celebrated the end of Diwali, the most important Hindu festival in the country, in the yearly festival.

The event started yesterday afternoon where locals visited surrounding homes to collect cow manure ready to throw snowball-sized piles of mud at each other.

They believe that whatever cows produce is sacred and purifying.

The poo is brought back from the farms to the temple by a tractor and is blessed by a priest before being dumped in an open area ready for the ritual to begin.

After the manure is dumped, men and boys prepare for the festival which is reportedly more than a hundred years old.

Each year, people come to Gumatapura to attend the big event where they can be seen covered head to toe in cow poo.

The event is very similar to Spain's "La Tomatina", where the Spanish throw tomatoes to celebrate the local fruit.

A former farmer, Mahesh, explained how the mud works.

He said: "If they have a disease, it will get cured."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed for greater protection of the animals, and many Indian states have long banned their slaughter for meat.

A lot of fans believe using cow urine will prevent and cure coronaviruses and other illnesses.

The festival did take place last year in 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the time local authorities gave permission for the event to take place with fewer people, however, many attending did not wear masks and didn't socially distance which was recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Last year saw almost 100 people get injured including elderly pensions at the cow poo slinging event.

The government here is also looking to encourage the production of toothpaste, shampoos, and mosquito repellents from the animal's waste.

Cow poo is also used for several other purposes in rural India including fuel and to insulate homes.

Gumatapura is located on the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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