500 bulls to take part; five-tier metal gallery to accommodate spectators, wire meshes to check intrusion

With Pongal just around the corner, the titanic bulls with huge hump are getting ready to hit the ground for the traditional ‘jallikattu.’

The otherwise sleepy and nondescript Periya Suriyur village, a few kilometres from the city, has sprung back to life to play host yet again for the bull-taming sport associated with harvest festivities.

With the apex court permitting the event in the State and the district administration giving consent, albeit with stringent conditions, to hold the event on January 15, the atmosphere at Periya Suriyur is charged up with the locals determined to make the event a grand success once again .

Hectic preparations are underway at Periya Suriyur where the ‘veera vilayattu’ has been organised for generations. To ensure better planning and perfect execution, a ‘Jallikattu Amaippu Vizha Kuzhu’ comprising locals has been constituted to complete the tasks well in advance.

Around 10 to 12 smaller groups have been formed with each entrusted with the responsibility of making arrangements for food, drinking water and other basic facilities, erection of barricades and gallery, and uniforms for bull tamers. The villagers have roped in sponsors and obtained donations for meeting the expenditures.

Barricades to a height of nearly eight feet and stretching to a distance of nearly 400 metres have been erected along the ‘maidhanam,’ situated in the centre of the village, to prevent over-enthusiastic spectators from jumping into the arena during the event. As an additional security measure, wire meshes are to be fixed in between the poles to check intrusion by spectators.A striking feature is the setting up of a five-tier metal gallery to accommodate nearly 2,000 viewers. This is the first time that a metal gallery has been put up, says A.Ramaiyan who heads the committee.

A sprawling open ground measuring over 25 acre is the spot identified to house the huge and raging bulls that are to be brought from different places on the eve of the ‘jallikattu’ and on the day of the event. “This time we expect around 500 bulls from Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Manapparai, Ariyalur, Jayamkondam, Kumbakonam, and even from far off Sivaganga for the traditional sport,” says Ramaiyan. Last year, around 350 bulls took part in the event. The mighty bulls of the village are receiving special attention and are provided with nutritious diet to build their stamina for the sport that signifies bravery and honour. The bulls are taken to a heap of sand where they plough through the mud with their raging horns when triggered. This is part of the training for the bulls to get charged up, say villagers.

The nearly five-hour long event will start at 10.30 a.m. after performing pujas to the ‘Narkadalkudi Karuppanaswamy’, the village deity of Periya Suriyur and at the Mariamman temple located at the ‘maidhanam’.

“We will strictly adhere to rules and guidelines’ , Mr.Ramaiyan said.