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Friday, May 3, 2013

Maramadi - The Bull Race of Kerala

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At the annual Maramadi festival during the post harvest season in the villages of Kerala in southern India, a peculiar bull race takes place. A pair of bulls are sent charging down the football field-sized rice paddy field soaked in ankle deep water, while their guides hang onto the tail or onto a harness and slide through the mud. The fields are freshly ploughed and the muddy water splash about as the bulls are raced by their guides. The villagers gather around these fields keeping safe distance. The air is rent with excitement fervor as there is stiff competition over these races.

A pair of oxen is usually managed by three persons forming a participating unit. Nearly 30 such units participate in the race which starts at noon and continues up to dusk. Like professional Jockeys these persons are also well trained and are experts in managing the oxen during the race. The oxen participating in for these races are specially fed and trained.

The most famous among the Maramadi races is held in Anandapali village Pathnamthitta District near Adoor City in Kerala. Here it is held around August 15th every year and coincides with the Onam celebrations.

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