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Alanganallur Jallikattu

JALLIKATTU is a bull taming sport played in TamilNadu as a part of Pongal celebration. In Jallikattu, the bull is not killed and the 'matadors' are not supposed to use any weapon. It is held in the villages of TamilNadu as a part of the village festival. The festivals are held from January to July, every year. The one held in Alanganallur, near Madurai, is one of the more popular events. This sport is also known as "Manju Virattu", meaning "chasing the bull".

UNDERSTANDING JALLIKATTU OR MANJU VIRATTU

Alanganallur JallikattuJallikattu An exciting sport, Jallikattu is a major event in villages of South India and is held on the 4th day of the Pongal festivities (Tamizhar Tirunal). This is one of the oldest living ancient sports seen in the modern era. (THE AVAILABLE RECORDS REVELED THAT MORE THAN 2500 YEARS OLD OF TAMIL SPORTS) Although it sounds similar to the Spanish running of the bulls, it is quite different. In Jallikattu, the bull is not killed and the 'matadors' are not supposed to use any weapon.

Alanganallur JallikattuJallikattu bulls belong to a few specific breeds of cattle that descended from the kangayam breed of cattle and these cattle are very pugnacious by nature. these cattle are reared in huge herds numbering in hundreds with a few cowherds tending to them. these cattle are for all practical comparisons, wild and only the cowherds can mingle with them without any fear of being attacked. Jallikattu, which is bull-baiting or bull fighting, is an ancient Tamil tradition called 'Eruthazhuvuthal', popular amongst warriors during the Tamil classical period. According to legend, in olden days the game was used by women to choose their husbands. Successful "matadors" were chosen as grooms.

The objective of this sport is to wrest the bounty, which is held in a cloth bag tied between the horns of the bulls. The sport is quite different from the more renowned bullfights of Spain and Mexico where the matador is expected to kill the bull with his sword. By and large, no attempt is made in Jallikattu to harm the bull. It is usually the valiant youths who get injured in their efforts to snatch the prize from the bull's horns.

In preparation for the event, bulls are bathed and decorated with beads, bells, garlands and kumkum before they are taken in procession to the stockade, which is located at one end of the main street. Drummers and folk artists play their instruments in an attempt to excite the bulls and get them worked up.

Alanganallur JallikattuPrior to the start of the festival, all the bulls are let out of the stockade one by one for the audience to get a preview of the quality of the bulls. The first one to be let out is normally the Temple bull of the village and its is allowed to take its path through the arena uninterrupted. The tacklers stand on either side of the exit gate and pounce on the other bulls as they emerge.

As the festival starts, the door to the stockade is opened and the ferocious bulls are let loose into the arena. The young tacklers try and lead them in different directions. They pounce on their backs. They hold the bull's tails. They seize their necks. They catch hold of their oiled, pointed horns. Somehow the bulls have to be tamed and the bloody battle between man and beast is on. Suddenly a tackler falls to the ground with his stomach ripped open. Its part of the risk involved.

Most often, the taming of a bull is a combined effort of two or three of the participants. The winner unties the bundle of cloth from around the bull's neck and takes the enclosed money or gold sovereigns as prize money. This festival is also a test of the young tackler'sAlanganallur Jallikattu bravery and most young girls even choose their beaus from among the winners.

Jallikattu is most famous and elaborate in the villages of Alanganallur, Siravayal (Madurai District, Tamil Nadu) where a lot of time and money goes into the preparations for the festival and the excitement and anticipation is much more than normal.

This event today attracts even the foreigners and they vie with one another in filming or photographing the event. The Tourist Department organises such a fair for the sake of foreign tourists every year at Alanganallur in Madurai.

Alanganallur and Palamedu is the location is very famous for Jallikattu sport.
 

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