Dec 16, 2012

The Red Cow in Manang

The Red Cow milk cans serves as prayer wheels in Manang

Growing up in the 80's and 90's in Bangladesh, The Red Cow powdered milk was something very familiar to me. It was also one of those things I never expected to find in another time or place. Manang proved me wrong.

Prayer wheels are pretty common in the Himalayas. These vertically mounted wheels are usually made of wood. Mantra inscribed copper plates covers the wooden core. On the way from Manang to Gunsang I found a batch of such wheels. What made this batch interesting is that four of the wheels were actually old red cow milk cans. I've seen large red cow cans being used as storage device for spices, grains and flour back in Bangladesh. I've also seen smaller cans being used for safekeeping valuables like jewelry and money. Resourceful Manangis have realized the potential of red cow cans serving as prayer wheels too. I guess Bangla instructions on how to prepare a glass of milk serves equally well as mantras :)

But how did these red cow cans reach Nepal, and Manang of all places in Nepal ? Ongma Didi shed some light on it. Didi said her father used to have business with Bangladesh during the 70's and 80's. When coming back from business trips, he would often bring red cow brand milk besides other stuffs. That solved the mystery.