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Jallikattu 2021: Here is Everything You Need to Know About the Bull-Taming Sport

Eruthazhuvuthal, popularly known as Jallikattu, is a bull-taming sport played in the parts of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. Here we list down everything one needs to know about this robust sport.

India | | January 14, 2021, 09:59 IST
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Jallikattu is also known as 'Eruthazhuvuthal' is a bull-taming sport played across Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The robust sport, performed during the four-day "Pongal" or winter harvest festival and is hugely popular in the southern Indian state.  (Image: AP)

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Origin: Jallikattu has been around for over 2000 years. The event was recorded in ancient literature as ‘Eruthazhuvuthal’. (Image: AP)

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Initially, it was a ceremony to select a bridegroom - the successful tamer would get to marry the maiden. (Image: PTI)

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Though Jallikattu is similar to Spanish bullfights, the animal is not killed and the 'fighters' are unarmed. (Image: PTI)

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The Game: The sport involves a natively reared stud that is set free inside an arena filled with young participants. The challenge lies in taming the bull with bare hands. (Image: AP)

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Ideally, participants try to grab the bull by its horns or tail and wrestle it into submission. (Image: PTI)

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The annual event is said to date back to the third century during the Pandya rule, which is well before Spain's bullfight evolved. (Image: AP)

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Name: The name Jallikattu is derived from the word ‘salli kasu’ meaning coins and ‘kattu’ meaning bundle/pouch. (Image: AP)

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The pouch, made of yellow cloth, filled with coins, is tied to the bull’s horns. The tamer gets the pouch. (Image: AP)

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An Indian man gets tossed away as villagers try to tame a bull during a traditional bull-taming festival, Jallikattu, in Palamedu, Madurai. (Image: AP)

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Participants try to tame a bull during the Jallikattu organised at Avaniyapuram in Madurai. (Image: PTI)

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Why During Pongal: On the 3rd day of the four-day-harvest festival, people offer prayers to bulls, cows and other farm animals and then play the customary bull-taming sport. (Image: PTI)

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People believe that not playing the sport will displease local deities, including lord Muniswara. (Image: PTI)

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Popular Districts: The biggest Jallikattu, at Alanganallur, has the tourism department’s patronage. The event also takes place in Avaniapuram and Palamedu of Madurai district and in some villages in surrounding districts like Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur. (Image: PTI)

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A man trying to control a bull. (Image: PTI)

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Though simple injuries are common, deaths have also been reported in the past. (Image: AP)

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Unlike the Spanish bullfighting, the bulls are not killed, but merely 'tamed' during Jallikattu. (Image: PTI)

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