Animals, especially cows, have been traditionally considered sacred in the Hindu culture and have symbolic significance as the vehicle of gods.
They are believed to have great connection with the gods and occupy great importance in Indian myths, with some temples devoted just for their worship.
Cows have always remained at the top of the holy animal hierarchy and are respected as "Go matha" or mother cow, who fulfills all the needs of her children; a gift of the gods. 'Gopujas' are also performed in various parts of India during festival seasons to worship cows.
Recently, with an additional eye on its forehead, a cow in Tamil Nadu has been born with three eyes and has risen not only as a holy cow, but as the incarnation of Lord Shiva, who is depicted with three eyes.
The three-eyed calf, born in the house of Rajesh from Kolathur village of Tamil Nadu is hailed as the "miracle calf".
Lord Shiva, or the destroyer is one of the primary Indian gods, on whom Shivaism is based. Limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless, Shiva's most iconographical attribute is the third eye on his forehead and is supposed to have burned "Kamadeva" (God or desires) into ashes with it. It has been mentioned in many mythological stories that when Shiva loses his temper, his third eye opens emitting flames to destroy everything to ashes.
Rajesh believes that the miracle calf is an incarnation of Lord Shiva and that she has been sent to their village to bring good luck to the people.
"This is a miracle calf, so we are worshipping and praying to it like a god,' he told the Daily Mail. "We believe if we worship this calf it will give good luck for us and the people around us."
One villager, Sharmila, explains the logic behind worshipping the calf, "This calf is born with the third eye, so we believe Shiva, a god who has three eyes, has been born here."
The miracle calf has not just been visited by the locals, visitors have travelled far and wide to worship the animal and seek its blessings. "Not just us, but everyone from our village and nearby districts visited this place. It's our god," Sharmila adds.
The miracle calf seems to be untouched by all the fame surrounding it and is as content to nurse from its mother as it is to be reverently touched by the "devotees".