Images of India : Jallikattu – the thousand year old sport…

Jallikettu

Tamil Nadu hopes to celebrate the New Year harvest festival of Pongal later this month with traditional “bull-taming” contests once more. Jallikattu is a sport that has been practised in southern India for thousands of years, but was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014 following objections from animal rights activists. For the first time in centuries no events were held last year.  In Jallikattu, the bull is released from the pen and the bullfighters are supposed to hold on to the hump for about 15-20 metres or three jumps of the bull to win the prize. Those who tame a bull – are seen as heroes in their villages. Over the years, scores of people have been gored or trampled to death in the contests. Hundreds, including spectators, have been mauled or injured. Coir matting from coconut trees cushioned the impact of a fall – but it provides no defence against a raging bull. Now, political parties and supporters of Jallikattu hope the government in Delhi will promulgate a special act to bring back the contests in time for the 2016 season in mid-January.