Category Archives: Jallikattu

With Pongal round the corner, bulls and bull tamers flex their muscles alike, getting ready for the game.

We are at the Vilangudi tank brimming with water and the Ayyanar temple on its bank has suddenly become a scene of action. There’s a small crowd gathered to look at Maran, Mayandi, Arul, Ramu and Anbu show their mettle in swimming. They stand tethered to trees, their eyes glinting; they seem vigilant and wary of the onlookers. “These are some of my star bulls that have won laurels in many jallikattu events,” says S Deepak, who owns 16 adult bulls and eight calves. As if in response, five-year-old Maran gives a nerve-rattling grunt and people back off in caution.

Meet the stars of jallikattu

In the colour of the night sky, sporting a pair of razor-sharp horns, Maran stands an impressive five feet, his hump towering over him. Kicking his hooves back and forth, he keeps grunting, signalling to strangers to stay away. But Deepak refers to the fearsome bull as his baby. “He’s just a kid and yet to grow into a veteran. However, in the past two years he has participated in over 40 jallikattus and won in nearly 35 of them,” beams Deepak, also a bull tamer. “The bulls are like my brothers and I have named them all after ancestors or deities. At home, they are docile and sober but when it comes to the game, they have to be watched out for.”

Except Arul, a three-year-old bull that’s a cross breed between Kannapuram and Poorni breeds, all of Deepak’s bulls belong to the Pulikulam breed, known for its agile build and medium size making it a perfect choice for jallikattu. “Traditionally, it was the Pulikulam breed, native to the Madurai region, that was used for the sport. For instance, the large and hefty Kangayam breed is not suitable for jallikattu and hence only rekla races are done using Kangayam bulls,” says 43-year-old Deepak, who has been a bull tamer for two decades now. “Apart from the breed, the bulls are classified based on the skin colour and pattern and are locally referred to with names like karisal (grey), macham(mole-like marks on the skin), kaari (black), mayilai (stripes), sevalai or kuraal (with a pink or red tinge to the skin tone).”

S Deepak with his bull Mayandi

S Deepak with his bull Mayandi   | Photo Credit: S James

Unleashing Maran, Deepak leads him to the water and the bull happily gets in and puts up a good show of swimming, keeping his horns and head above the water surface, breathing out through his flared nostrils. Two other bulls follow suit and swim about with the help of their trainers. Mayandi the bull seems calm; but once he’s lead on to a patch of soil, he just charges forth on to the ground, fiercely poking his horns into the earth and throwing up mud. “This is referred to as mannu kuthal and often misconceived that the bull is being trained to be violent, but this is an exercise that helps strengthen the spine and neck bones,” says Deepak.

There are different formats of the game for which the bulls are trained specifically. Games like erudhukattu, vadam, velivirattu and manjuvirattu are some other forms of jallikattu conducted in Southern Tamil Nadu. While the popular vaadivasal jallikattu takes place in eight districts, the vadam sport is held year round in Madurai, Dindigul, Sivagangai, Ramnad and Tiruchi districts. Some of these events are organised for church festivals as well. “In vadam, the bull is kept tethered with a 40 metre rope and a team of nine men try to embrace the animal within a closed area,” says Deepak. “I have trained five of my bulls for vadam, two for velivirattu while nine are jallikattu players.”

“Depending on off-season and the peak-season for jallikattu, we train the bulls like athletes. Apart from hour-long swimming sessions, we do cross-fit training with slow and fast jogging. On alternate days, the bulls are made to stomp clay for strengthening of thigh muscles and to plough sand for shaping up the shoulders,” explains Deepak. The animals are also given a nutritious meal that’s composed of cotton seeds, wheat dust, ground pulses such as urad and thuvar dal. Only during off-season, the bulls are fed rice while during jallikattu period, their diet is protein-rich. “The player’s diet also includes honey, figs, and dates,a kilo each daily. We also offer them home-made traditional medicines made of ginger, garlic and onions to build immunity,” he adds.

Bulls aged over 15 years are considered jallikattu veterans and become sought-after as breed males. Ramu, the oldest of Deepak’s bulls is 17-years-old and is a star in the surrounding areas. Some, such as Nondi even attain celebrity status and become viral on online platforms like YouTube.

This article has been produced from JANUARY 11, 2019 15:11 IST.

The original can be accessed at  :

Jallikattu: Tamil Nadu allows bull-taming sport in three places in Madurai next month

It will be held in Avaniayapuram on January 15, Palamedu on January 16 and Alanganallur the next day.

Jallikattu: Tamil Nadu allows bull-taming sport in three places in Madurai next month

The Tamil Nadu government has issued a government order to conduct bull taming sport jallikattu in three places in Madurai in January.

“Under Section 2 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, the Tamil Nadu governor hereby notifies that jallikattu may be conducted on selected days in the places specified,” the order dated December 24 read, according to The Times of India.

Shilpa Nair@NairShilpa1308

Tamil Nadu govt issues order to conduct in three places in Madurai from 15-17th of January. The event will be conducted in Avaniayapuram, Palamedu and Alanganallur.

The traditional sport involves a bull charging into an arena where participants attempt to encircle it and grab its hump. The participant who is able to cling on to the animal is declared the winner.

But for around a decade now, the sport has been embroiled in a legal tangle. After a campaign against jallikattu by animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Supreme Court bannedthe sport in 2014. In January 2016, though, yielding to popular pressure, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government published a notification allowing bulls to be used in the sport. Animal rights groups challenged this, prompting the Supreme Court to quash the notification a few days later.

One year on, in January 2017, lakhs of Tamil Nadu residents poured ontoChennai’s Marina beach, protesting the ban on jallikattu. Several students, members of the youth wings of political parties and IT employeesparticipated. Holding placards and demanding that the ban should be lifted, these protestors claimed that the jallikattu was necessary both to preserve a cultural tradition and because the bouts helped identify the most robust bulls necessary for breeding native species of cattle.

But the legal challenge to jallikattu has not been put to rest entirely. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals challenged the amendment, and the Supreme Court has said a constitutional bench will examinewhether jallikattu is a cultural right.

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This article has been reproduced from dated Dec 27, 2018.

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Women Pivotal in Jallikattu Struggle

After nearly six decades, the Great #Jallikattu Revolution saw hundreds of thousands of Women pour out on the streets of all parts of Tamilnadu – Cities, Towns and Villages alike.

Women brought their families along. Mothers confidently brought their children; Wives brought their husbands; Girls brought their friends.They occupied the public places of #Tamilnadu and did not return till we achieved success.

Great women like Mrs. Gouhar Azeez, Mrs. Nandini Madam (Chennai) were our mentors, Mrs. Kavitha (Japan), Mrs. Kayal Vizhi Arunkumar and hundreds of other friends fought to #SaveJallikattu.

I salute these brave women were the real reason behind the success of the Jallikattu struggle.

Jallikattu Photo Exhibition


A Jallikattu Photo Exhibition was held at Kaumara Susheela International Residential School, Coimbatore on January 7, 2018. It was held as a part of the ‘Pongal Vizha’ celebrations at KSirs School. Photos taken by Mr. Balakumar Somu, Founder, ARHAM Trust, were displayed in the exhibition.

Mr. Kumaragurubara Swamigal of Kaumara Madam, Mr. Karthikeya Sivasenapathi of SKCRF, Kangeyam, Mrs. Vanitha Mohan of ‘Siruthuli’ and several others participated in the function. The students of KSirs along with their family, participated in the ‘Pongal Vizha’.

‘Jallikattu League’ in Tamil Nadu Hits Hurdle With Govt Yet to Give Approval

  • A source from the state government told CNN-News18 that the main reason for the holdup in giving permission for the Jallikattu event is that it is surprised that the event is in a league format.

Updated on: January 5, 2018, 6:13 PM IST
Poornima Murali , CNN-News18
Chennai: A ‘Jallikattu league’ in Tamil Nadu was all set to kick off here on January 7 but the event has hit a hurdle with the state government still not granting approval for the event.

A source from the state government told CNN-News18 that the main reason for the holdup is that it is surprised that the event is in a league format.

The government doesn’t want a traditional sport to be played in an IPL-like-format. Nor does it want to encourage the ranking of the bulls and players, the source added.

The source further said that the initial venue the organisers chose was not in compliance with the Supreme Court guidelines.

An organiser of the event, on condition of anonymity, said they are confident that an approval from the state government for the event will come in a day or two.

“We never called it a league. The media made the Jallikattu event a league-like format. The state government was also worried about corporates sponsoring the event. We had no intentions to commercialise the event. We wanted to clear the doubts of people who said the bull-taming sport is a form of animal cruelty,” he said.

The organisers have chosen another location at MARG Swarnaboomi on the East Coast Road. The location for the event initially was a place opposite the Madras Crocodile bank on the ECR.

From questions over adherence to a Supreme Court ruling over conduct of the game to stiff opposition to corporatisation of the traditional sport, the organisers are waging a multi-fronted battle to get the event going. They may now have to shift the venue to a far-flung location.

The initial idea was to have teams from Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai participate in the event.

In January 2018, massive protests broke out at Marina Beach where protesters urged both the state government and the Centre to repeal the ban on Jallikattu. Following unrelenting protest, the then chief minister O Panneerselvam issued an ordinance that amended the Prevention of cruelty to animals act. This was later introduced as a bill in the State Assembly and was unanimously passed. However, the case is still pending in the Supreme Court.

Reproduced from online edition on CNN News18 dated 5/1/2018