Rekla race, a century-old sport

Like jallikattu, it used to be popular during the Pongal festival

January 09, 2016 02:26 am | Updated September 22, 2016 11:05 pm IST - Chennai:

It was not just the jallikattu enthusiasts who were rejoicing after the government order restored the sport on Friday. Among those who were celebrating were rekla racers.

The race involves getting race bulls to lug makeshift carts a certain distance, the winners are given prizes, and just like jallikattu , this sport used to be popular during the three-day Pongal festival.

Popular sport

It was popular in some parts of Tamil Nadu before the ban was enforced, including in Chennai and the Coimbatore region.

“In his memoir, Na Chinnanati Muchchatlu (Memories of my Childhood), Dr. K.N. Kesari, well-known 19th century ayurvedic physician, mentioned about his frequent visits to the fair, especially Rekla race at the Moore Market complex [in Chennai] ,” says historian V. Sriram.

Rekla races held on Kaanum Pongal day were the crowd puller at the Annual Park Fair and Carnival of Sports held at the Moore Market complex.

In in 1900s, the Corporation of Madras was the chief organiser of the fair including the Rekla race before it was handed over to the South Indian Athletic Association (SIAA). Over the years, the venue shifted to Madhavaram High Road on the city outskirts.

In Coimbatore, minutes after the Union Government lifted the ban on jallikattu and Rekla Race, the price of Kangayam bulls, aged between three to four years, shot up to Rs. 50,000.

It was just Rs. 16,000 till Thursday.

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