Owners and cows at risk besides the fear ~ India
Organisers of the event spread dry straw along the road before setting it alight.
A video of the shocking event shows that the animals are clearly distressed by the ordeal.
The event is mostly organised in southern India and is held in states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
It has been widely criticised by animal welfare organisations who have called on the government to stop the tradition.
Organisers claim that the fire is not big enough to injure anybody.
The annual event celebrates the Hindu harvest festival and the ritual is designed to bring good fortune and protection from harm.
The Makar Sankaranti festival marks the advent of spring and is celebrated by kite-flying and other regional festivities in the month of January.
As part of the festival the cows are decorated with garlands and bells and walked over burning hay.
The age-old ritual is believed to bring good fortune and keep cows, which are sacred to Hindus, and other livestock and crops from harm's way.