IDUKKI: The jallikattu was held on Sunday in the agricultural village of Vattavada near Munnar in Idukki with over 50 competitors and around 100 bulls taking part amid much fanfare. The top finisher bagged a cash price `2,000.Jallikattu, largely confined to the southern districts of Tamil Nadu and organised during Pongal, was held in Vattavada as part of the Pongal celebrations. It is usually held from January to July every year. This festive has been conducted for the past 450 years and was initiated in the village by the rulers of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore.
Four competitors suffered minor injuries such as bruises in the event, which drew an estimated 2,000 spectators. The injured were given medical treatment at the venue itself. The traditional sport was organised by the village ‘Naattukkoottam’.Nobody bagged the first prize amount because none of the competitors was able to tame the bull.A bull belonging to Arumukhan of ‘Jallikattu Peravai’ was adjudged the ‘best bull’ of the event.
The village administrators, belonging to various communities including the Mannadiyar community leader M R Thankachami, Mathriyar Palraj, Manikarar M K Ramaswami and Periyadhanam community leaders S K Kamaraj and Karunakaran, led the jallikattu.Mannadiyar M R Thankachami, who flagged off the event, distributed the prizes. Tight security arrangements had been made for the event. The venue, just a few metres away from the national highway at Koviloor Pothumaithanam, was jam-packed with people even standing on the road to witness the event. Apart from the natives of the village belonging to 500 families, tourists from inside and outside the nation and professional photographers came to witness this event.
During the ‘pooja’ for setting up the ‘vadivasal’ (the passage through which the bulls are let into the arena) in the initial phase of the event, Jayaprakash, a jallikattu organising committee member, had termed it a ‘historic event’ at Vattavada, as the natives have been following it for generations.
“After this festival, the bulls are given a 2-month resting period. The bulls won’t be allowed to work in the field, and the farmers themselves will plough the land without the bulls. Through this ceremony, we believe the bulls won’t get affected by any health issues and it will make them much healthier,” he said.
The sport, synonymous with Pongal festivities, returned to its full traditional gaiety in the village during the festive period after a gap of three seasons.