Jallikattu: bulls and tamers go through a rigorous drill

A bull made to ‘gore’ a mound of earth as part of a practice routine near Madakulam tank near Madurai on Friday.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

With less than a week left for Pongal festival, bull owners and tamers have intensified their practice to ensure that they are well prepared for the slew of jallikattu events this season.

M. Stalin, a bull rearer from Madakulam, says that his bull - ‘karuppu’ - is given a swimming practice at least twice a week in the run-up to the jallikattu events. “Swimming is an important workout for the bull as it aids better agility during jallikattu,” he says. As part of the practice routine, the bulls are also made to ‘gore’ a mound of earth with their horns, he adds.

A nutrituous diet for the bulls are followed for two months prior to the jallikattu events, says S. Subash, a bull owner from Vadipatti. “Bulls are given cotton seeds, wheat husk mixed with water and date palms. Many rearers also feed their bulls a mixture of various millets,” he says.

While the bull rearers are happy that jallikattu events are conducted this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the restriction of allowing only two caretakers for each bull during the jallikattu event poses a problem, says the president of Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Peravai, P. Rajasekar. “At least four persons are required to take care of one bull. The caretakers reach the venue the previous night of the jallikattu event. It will be extremely difficult for two persons to release the bulls through the ‘vadivasal’ (the place through which bulls are let into the arena) and to get hold of the bulls at the collection points,” he says.

Mr. Subash says the jallikattu organising committee members must assess the number of bulls that were released into the arena in the previous years and accordingly issue tokens this year.

Mock ‘vadivasal’

The bull tamers have also stepped up their practice for jallikattu events. Members of ‘Jallikattu Training Centre,’ a centre which trains tamers, have been practising by setting up mock ‘vadivasal.’ President of the Centre B. Manikandaprabu says experienced players share techniques and their expertise with young bull tamers. “If a player knows how to approach a running bull in the arena, it will reduce the possibilities of accidents,” he says.

The players have intensified their workout routine in the past three months, says P. Ranjith, a bull tamer. “For the past several years, the bull tamers have been urging the officials to ensure that proper facilities are available for players during the jallikattu event. The officials must focus on providing better amenities for bull tamers this year,” he says.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 10:30:04 AM |

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