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india - gujarat

Rabari temple (Dubhrej village).

 

Rabaris are devout Hindus. According to their myth of existence they were created by Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, who wiped the dust and sweat from Shiva as he was meditating and fashioned the very first camel from the dust balls she collected from his body. Once Shiva had breathed life into this camel, it kept running away, so Parvati fashioned a man, and the first Rabari was given life so he could mind the camel. Keeping animals has thus always been a pious occupation and Rabaris see themselves primarily as custodians of animals during their moral existence, rather than their owners. It is also their beliefs that the mother goddess presides over them. Her advice is taken about when to start out migration, and animals are commended to her care.

 

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Taken in December 2008