Jallikattu, The Pinnacle of Tamil Culture
Jallikattu is a traditional bull embracing sport played in Tamilnadu during the months of January to May as a part of Pongal and other temple or Church festivals. With over 4000 years of recorded history, it is one of the oldest sport in the world!
Jallikattu is a harmless sport where an unarmed sportsman tries to embrace the bull for a period of 10 seconds or till the bull crosses the finish line about 50 feet away. If the sportsman successfully embraces the bull by its hump, he is declared the winner. If no one is successful, then the bull is declared the winner.
Safety of the bull, sportsmen and spectators are the top priority. Special barricades and galleries are
constructed to ensure safety for the spectators. Government Veterinarians test the bull before and after the event to ensure the bull has not been abused, stressed or harmed in any manner. The sportsmen also undergo a medical fitness test.
History and Culture
‘Jallikattu’ is a rare sport that has been continuously played for thousands of years. A seal made of stone
found at Mohenjodaro, depicts “jallikattu” that was prevalent in the Indus Civilisation. The seal, about 4,000 years old, is on display at the National Museum, New Delhi.
The Sport has become an intrinsic part of the Tamil culture that it has broken all religious and caste barriers. People of all religions, caste and creed participate in this sport. The sport is usually held once a year in a village to celebrate a local temple or church festival. About 30% of the events held during 2013 were organised by christian churches.
Jallikattu Saves Native Cattle Species
Jallikattu is not just a sport! It is inter-twined in the Tamil rural eco-system in many ways than what meets the eye.
The honour of the family bull participating in a Jallikattu is the sole reason for the bull not being sent to the slaughter-house ! Since only local breed of bulls are best suited for the sport, villagers rear bulls of local breeds specifically suited for the purpose.
Every village temple selects a bull as its offical ‘Temple Bull’. The temple bull is essentially the common village stud bull, fed and readred by the whole village. It is allowed to roam free in the village. The temple bull is changed every three years to avoid in-breeding! During Jallikattu the temple bull is given the honour of entering the arena first and, by convention, nobody embraces it.
Myths & Facts
* Bulls are abused
* Bulls are fed performance enhancers or liquor
* Bulls are ferocious and many people die
* Bulls are beaten to enter into the arena
* Tamilnadu Government has set very stringent rules and regulations
* Government Veterinarian tests and certifies the bull before and AFTERthe event
* All events are video-recorded
* Bulls are not beaten to enter the arena! They are trained to go to the keeper. Watch the keeper go beyond the 50-feet marker and wave his towel or whistle to let the bull know where he is!
* Not a single sportsman has died since the introduction of the Tamilnadu Jallikattu Act
Animal Rights Activists Got it Wrong !
It is very unfortunate that some animal rights activists equate Jallikattu with bull fights of Spain, Portugal, Argentina etc. where, the bull is teased, tortured and killed! Whereas Jallikattu honours the bull! The bull is not abused in any manner. Government veterinarians certify the bull before and after the event!
The Animal Rights Activists do not consider the contribution of Jallikattu to the rural economy. They do not seem to understand the sport’s contribution to the rural ecology and family structure.
Jallikattu saves the bulls from the slaughterhouses!
Popular Venues and Dates
Every year, the Jallikattu season starts with the world-famous event being held at Palamedu in Madurai District on January 15th, followed by Alanganallur, Avaniyapuram and other places. The season ends by May.
Jallikattu Needs Your Support !
Your Support to save the sport will save our native cattle breeds which are almost extinct, encourage
more rearing of local cattle, give filip to rural economy and retain our rural labour force.
Support Jallikattu; Save Native Cattle !