MYSURU: Authorities of Male Mahadeshwara Temple, situated on the Tamil-Nadu Karnataka border, are in a fix. They do not know what to do with the cows and calves they get as donations.
Recently, devotees protested following rumours based on allegations that cows and calves auctioned by the temple are ending up in slaughterhouses in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The temple receives around 1,000 to 1,200 cattle a year but it does not have a shelter to keep livestock or a fodder bank or fields for grazing.
Temple authorities say they have no option but to auction the cattle. People donate cattle to fulfil their vows to Lord Mahadeshwara (Madappa).
The temple is situated at M M Hills—now a wildlife sanctuary—and authorities can’t open goshalas on the forest fringes of a wildlife sanctuary. There is also a proposal to give it a tiger reserve tag. Temple authorities are worried as they may get more cattle this year and will have to find a solution soon.
Forest officials have warned of action if the grazing cattle enter the forest, fearing it may pose a threat to wildlife. The situation will worsen if thousands of cattle enter the forest to graze during drought.
The temple authorities observed that cattle donation is more during drought years as owners hope it will survive in the hills. A temple official said more than 90 per cent of the devotees prefer to donate male calves and only 10 per cent donate cows. Admitting that they have been holding auctions for the past 30-40 years in the temple which earns a revenue of `25-30 lakh per annum, the temple authorities feel they have limited options. They say they have to spend lakhs of rupees for constructing cattle sheds and purchasing fodder.
The authorities have decided to stop auctioning cattle till the Male Mahadeshwara Development Authority headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah takes a decision in this regard. Mysuru Pinjarapole Society had called a meeting to discuss the issue of selling cattle to butchers and feeding the cattle given by temples.