More than the sugarcane or sweet dish pongal made of rice and jaggery, it’s the roaring bulls let off from the Vaadivasal (entry point) into the arena that appear to excite the dauntless bull tamers of Tamil Nadu, which witnessed the first Jallikattu for this Pongal 2022 season in Pudukottai on Thursday.
As about 700 bulls were let out into the arena, the tamers pumped their adrenaline to ride the native bulls by clinging on to their humps. On several occasions, the bulls had a free run as they menacingly charged forward giving but little option to the tamers to evade from being goarded.
The event at Thatchankuruchi in Pudukkottai district, flagged by State Law Minister S Regupathy, was held amidst stringent COVID-19 safety norms and SoP for men and bulls. The heroic traditional sport saw about 300 tamers participate in the annual event held in connection with the Pongal festival. About 150 spectators were allowed, a senior revenue official from the district said. The tamers and organisers took an oath not to harm the bulls and be fair in the game, he said.
The State government permitted the conduct of the traditional sport of Tamil Nadu enforcing numerous restrictions on the men and animals making it mandatory for the bull owners, their assistants, tamers and spectators to furnish RT-PCR test negative report to participate and witness the Jallikattu. Also, SoP was issued to prevent cruelty to the animals. All those who took part in the sport and the spectators too should have been fully vaccinated, the government had said.
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Those from the neighbouring districts of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur too participated in today’s event.
Though similar events are held in several districts across Tamil Nadu, those conducted at Avaniyapuram (on January 14), Palamedu (January 15) and Alanganallur in Madurai district are the major attractions in the State. This time, the Jallikattu in Alanganallur will be held on January 17 instead of 16 when a complete lockdown will be enforced to contain the spread of Coronavirus.