THE HOUR OF COW DUST
The locale is Vrindavan, the hometown of Krishna. It is the hour of cow dust when Krishna and the gopas (cowherds) herd back their cows at the end of the day. It is a sight even for the gods. The left corner of the painting shows them assembled in the woods. And so have the gopis on the balcony on the right. The gopis have long awaited the glimpse of their beloved Krishna and the artist has captured that moment when they exchange quick glances with him as he passes by. The youthful Krishna, wearing wooden sandals, holding a cowherd stick and adorned with a long flower garland
looks up at the two gopis, one of whom may be Radha. His face is highlighted by a halo around it. His companion, unable to comprehend the situation, looks at him in amazement. Even today, the Godhuli Bela (The Hour of Cow Dust) is considered an auspicious moment.
The hour of cow dust is particularly celebrated on Gopashtami, the eighth day of the bright half of Kartika (November) when everybody worships the cows returning from the fields at twilight. This is the day when Krishna was formally given the status of a cowherd and was allowed to take the cows to graze.
Indian Miniature Paintings
Full page : 25.4 x 38.5 cms Painting : 17.4 x 27.2 cms