Vegetarianism is in keeping with the Hindu principle of non-violence. It lies at the top of the hierarchy of Hindu dietary practices and is rooted in Indian customs. Its application can however vary between regions and communities. Although people in India are now apparently developing a taste for meat, eating animal flesh still remains relatively rare, due in part to its high price.
Hinduism favours a vegetarian diet and protects the cow as a sacred animal and source of prosperity. Beef is therefore deemed to be non-edible. Currently, some Indian states have legally ratified the ban on the slaughter of cows, giving rise to considerable debate and tension. However, dairy products remain particularly highly valued. Milk, often transformed into ghee or yoghurt, is an essential part of the Indian diet.