Dung cakes

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A pile of dung cakes in the village Nihal Singh Wala of District Moga in Punjab

Dung cakes, made from the by-products of animal husbandry, are traditionally used as fuel in India for making food in a domestic hearth called a Chulha. They are made by hand by village women and are traditionally made from cow or buffalo dung. One dung cake of an average size gives 2100 kJ worth of energy. Dung cakes are also known as uple, kande, gosse or thepdi.

These are the cakes of cow dung molded by bare hands with a curvature to be able to keep stuck to the walls. Once dried they are put in a pile and covered with thatch called bitauda. These bitaudas are visible all over India albeit with different names. The sizes and shapes of the cakes might vary by region. Its also not uncommon to see these cakes directly used in earthen ovens.

This bio-fuel has been used for a long time primarily of two reasons 1. for easy disposal of cow dung 2. easily available and cheap fuel. After burning the residue ash is used to wash hands since it becomes germs free as bi-product of burning and sprinkled also on crops to get rid of certain pests.

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