Cows were decorated for a beauty pageant in India (Representational Image) Reuters

A panel of experts judged health of cattle in an unusual beauty pageant of the domestic animals held in the northern Indian state of Haryana over the weekend.

Hundreds of cows and buffalos were decked with cow bells, ribbons, head covers and the like to be presented at the pageant. The contest was aimed at creating awareness about animal health and promoting cattle breeds, officials said.

As many as 630 animals were made to walk in front of the judges. Eighteen animals were declared winner of the contest that took place at the grounds of the International Institute of Veterinary Education and Research in the farming town of Rohtak.

The healthiest-looking animals were selected as winners and were given a sash and home prizes.

"I have brought my best cow for the show and she has won a prize," Randhir Singh, a farmer from nearby village, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. "I wanted my cow to win and she has done me proud."

The state official-in-charge of animal husbandry Prem Singh said that the state government was trying to popularize local breeds of cows through the contest. Only indigenous breeds were allowed in the pageant in which farmers from all the districts of the state took part, Singh said.