Online shoppers in India are not turning up their noses at an unusual must-have item that is flying off the virtual shelves – cow dung patties.

Cow dung saved and shaped in Rajasthan.

Cow dung saved and shaped in Rajasthan. Image by Amanderson2 / CC BY 2.0

The patties – cow dung mixed with hay, made mainly by women in rural areas and used to fuel fires – have long been available in India’s villages.

Now online retailers including Amazon and eBay are reaching out to the country’s ever-increasing urban population.

Some retailers are offering discounts for large orders, and some customers are even asking for gift wrapping.

In India, where Hindus worship cows as sacred, cow dung cakes have been used for centuries to fuel fires for cooking or Hindu rituals.

Across rural India, piles of drying cow dung are ubiquitous.

(Press Association)