KARUR: Come Pongal, and select villages around Aravakurichi in Karur district wake up to frenzied activity.
Basking in the festive spirit, people indulge themselves with several rural sports famed for the area. If bull taming in jallikattu is famous in many villages in central regions of the State, then “sevalkattu” or rooster duel is a particular attraction in Karur district.
Enthusiasts bring thousands of roosters to take part in the duels organised at Poolamvalasu near Aravakurichi which has gained significance as the venue. It received a tremendous response from enthusiastic growers and eager public.
Roosters in red, tan, black and white _ reared especially for fight _ were brought from Karur, Coimbatore, Dindigul, Theni, Madurai, Tiruchi, Salem, Erode, Thanjavur, Tirupur, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts as also from some areas in neighbouring Kerala .
Public were witness to absorbing duels over the last few days. Usually, the duels last five days and each day would see thousands of fights witnessed and encouraged by small groups of people squatting and standing in circles at the village.
“Rearing a rooster requires a lot of training and discipline,” observes a grower K. Ravikumaran of Aravakurichi who is a regular at Poolamvalasu sevalkattu.
Proper feeding and preparation might see your bird through, else it would end up in the stomach of the rival grower after being mauled by the opponent bird, he points out.
Diet regimen and training are the basics required for readying the rooster for the fight. The food has to give the bird stamina and strength to outlast the rival bird. Every year, the fight is only becoming intense much similar to the intense competition men face in their lives these days, says C. Sellappa Gounder (64) of Poolamvalasu.
The rule of the game is simple – the winner takes it all, including the losing rooster which should be lucky to see the next dawn for, most of the losing roosters would be served up during dinner celebration of the victors the same day.
The sevalkattu gives a big boost to the local economy as thousands of people congregate for around a week in the village to participate and witness the fights. A few years back there used to be tension in the region after the State Government banned sevalkattu. After the ban was lifted unofficially, there has been more fun.