Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jallikattu in Tamilnadu

On January 17th 2012, on the way back from Vellore to Bengaluru, I had a thrilling experience. I got to watch the popular bull taming sport in Tamilnadu called Jallikattu. This is part of the tradition on the last day of the Pongal festival there.

In this particular location, the bulls were basically let loose to run one after the other, down a slightly inclined path, with crowds of people all around, lots of noise and drums. And the braver ones among the crowd tried to grab the ropes tied around the bulls' necks to bring them under control and stop them from running away. Sometimes the bulls got out of control even while they were being led up the hill, before they were turned loose.

(Click on the album above to see the photos in bigger size)

I found a nice view point right in the center, at the end of the bull run track. I thought the bulls would all be stopped well before they reached the end of the path. Apparently, I was wrong. When they really start running wild, all the brave guys do is run out of its path, instead of grabbing its ropes to control it. One of the bulls ran right in my direction! I didn't know what I would do if it came for me. Fortunately, the bull veered to my left and passed just a few meters away from me. It was an adrenaline-inducing moment! After that, I felt like getting more involved and seeking more of the thrill. But we had just stopped to watch this for a few minutes en route to Bengaluru, returning from a two-day trip. We didn't have time to linger longer.

That was probably the wiser decision cuz we heard that one of the bulls had already sent 3 people to the hospital earlier in the day. When I was a young boy, we had an acquaintance who lost half his upper teeth while just standing by as a spectator during one of these events. I kind of understood why people seek dangerous sports again and again.

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