Andhra Pradesh

Cocks getting ready for Sankranti fight

A file photo of roosters in a fierce fight during the Sankranti festival in Krishna district in 2019.  

With Sankranti, the biggest festival for farmers, approaching fast, cockfight organisers are busy making arrangements for the traditional game known as 'kodi pandelu' in local parlance. Flood lights, cockfight arenas, food stalls, VIP visits and punters carrying different varieties of roosters to the venues will be seen in villages during the three-day harvest festival, celebrated on a grand scale in Andhra Pradesh.

Celebrities, NRIs, public representatives, realtors, businessmen and film actors from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Singapore and other countries, and from the neighbouring Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and other States will throng the venues to enjoy the fights.

Cockfights will be conducted at several places in the State. However, West Godavari and Krishna districts are known for the tradition and arenas, called ‘kodi pandela barulu’) which will be arranged at more than 1,000 places in the two districts.

“There would be no Sankranti, also known as 'Pedda Panduga' without cockfights. The game will be organised like previous years but with all COVID-19 precautions this Sankranti. We will arrange the game in coconut orchards and in island villages,” said an organiser B. Raju of Veeravasaram in West Godavari district.

Some villagers and farmers are giving training to the fowls for the fight. Special training is being given to roosters for the last few months. A few villagers train the roosters throughout the year.

“We feed roosters with almonds, cashew, eggs, mutton and other special diet. Cocks in my farm practise for about five hours a day. We get them bath in hot water, train them in swimming and other techniques to enhance the stamina,” said trainer P. Ranga Rao of Attili village.

Fowls are named as ‘Nemali’, ‘Dega’, ‘Hamsha’, ‘Kaki’, ‘Tella Nemali’, ‘Kaki Dega’ and other names, which will be fixed as per their colour, height and weight. Punters buy the cocks as per the advice of astrologers.

High rates

“Organisers sell and buy fowls at high rates. Each fowl is sold at ₹50,000 and above, and the highest price is around ₹3 lakh. People from Karnataka, Telangana and other States buy roosters from our farms,” said a villager of Gurvayipalem village in Krishna district.

Punters invest in high stakes and crores of rupees change hands during Bhogi, Sankranti and Kanuma festival days. For the last few years, organisers have been using online apps for transferring money.

Punters booked hotels in Vijayawada, Gudivada, Guntur, Bhimavaram, Palakol, Razole, Jangareddygudem, Nuzvid, Kaikalur, Avanigadda, Nagayalanka, Machilipatnam, Eluru, Kovvur and other towns in advance for the harvest festival.

Thousands of roosters die in the fight and the meat of the dead, which has good demand, is sold at ₹2000 and above in villages.

“Mostly, people’s representatives, businessmen and landlords organise cockfights. Every year we celebrate the festival peacefully. We will enjoy cockfights with families. Last year we won about ₹20 lakh and lost ₹6 lakh,” a software engineer of Bhimavaram settled in Bengaluru said.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:47:12 PM |

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