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
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.
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.
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
bravery and most young girls even choose their beaus from among the
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
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