I’m sure many would be aware of the magnificent and extremely dangerous Spanish sport called the ‘Running of the bulls’. Well, we have our very own version of this Bull festival in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and it’s called the Jallikattu festival.
Starting with Pongal, Jallikattu Festival is a traditional spectacle that lures tourists and locals from far off corners to experience the festival and be part of it. The main event kick-offs with the bull being released into the crowd, and participants vying to get a hold of it by grabbing the hump on its back, or riding it long enough to pull the flags off its horns. In some cases, riders are supposed to hold on to the bull long enough to make it stop. In other places, the contestants must hold onto the bull for 30 seconds to a minute or at least for a distance of 45 feet.
The Jallikattu festival is a platform for contestants to display strength and bravery, and to encourage participation, many event organizers have also introduced a prize for the victor. But to win a prize, first comes preparation, especially since this is a dangerous sport. Participants train for months and sometimes years to run with these mighty beasts. A great deal of stamina, strength, will power and sheer adrenaline drive participants at the festival and makes it an exciting experience to watch.
Jallikattu has had a fair share of criticism as well. Apart from the danger to human life, animals are at safety risk too, because of which the festival was banned for several years. But after numerous protests and pressure by the local people, the ban was lifted in 2017.
The Jallikattu festival happens in the month of January, which is a pleasant time to travel. You can plan a trip around the Pongal celebrations which is widely celebrated in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Apart from the Jallikattu festival, one can also check out the many tea estates in Munnar and Alleppey, relish delicious Chettinad cuisine, enjoy the French lifestyle in Pondicherry, meditate in Auroville, and marvel at the stone monuments at Mahabalipuram.
Celebrate JALLIKATTU FESTIVAL with AWARA FEET.
How to Reach:
Jallikattu is the traditional sport of Tamil Nadu and can be witnessed at many places within the state. Chennai is easily accessible from all major airports, railway stations across India. But I would suggest you take a bike trip and club Kerala and Tamil Nadu to enjoy the festivities in all its glory.