Jallikattu, the annual bull-taming event which is an integral part of Pongal celebrations in southern Tamil Nadu, got a kickstart in Pudukottai district today. Similar events are slated to be held in Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Madurai districts and thousands of people have thronged the spots with energy and enthusiasm. At Alanganallur and Avaniapuram, the two popular spots of Jallikattu, tight security arrangements are in place. The renowned Alanganallur jallikattu, which is scheduled to be held on January 17, will be conducted with certain tweaks this year. With just hours to go for the first major jallikattu of the year in Madurai district at Avaniapuram, arrangements are being made in full swing.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court recently appointed an organising committee under the chairmanship of retired Principal District Judge C Raghavan to review the arrangements at Avaniapuram, one of the most popular Jallikattu spots. This was done following writ petitions filed by different groups due to issues within the organising committee comprising local people that usually conducted the event.
Jallikattu, also known as eru thazhuvuthal and manju virattu, is a traditional spectacle in which bull is released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump on the bull's back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags on the bull's horns.