Reviving the Charm of Rekla Racing: A Celebration of India’s Sporting Heritage
India has a rich and diverse sporting heritage that spans centuries. From the ancient sport of kabaddi to the modern-day cricket, India has a deep-rooted love for sports. One such sport that has been a part of India’s sporting culture for a long time is the Rekla race. Though it is not as popular as other sports, it has a unique charm and a dedicated fan following.
Rekla racing involves getting race bulls to pull makeshift carts and run a certain distance. The riders, known as winders, are given prizes for their performance. This sport was particularly popular during the three-day Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. The festival is celebrated to mark the harvest season and is a time for joy and festivities. Rekla racing was one of the major attractions of the festival.
The sport was popular in some parts of Tamil Nadu before the ban came into effect. It was particularly popular in the Chennai and Coimbatore regions. In his memoir, Na Chinnanati Mucchatlu (Memories of my childhood), Dr. K N Kesari, a well-known 19th-century Ayurvedic physician, mentioned his frequent visits to the fair, especially the Rekla race at the Moore Market complex in Chennai.
Rekla races held on Kaanum Pongal day were a crowd puller at the annual Park Fair and Carnival of sports held at the Moore market complex. In the initial years in the 1900s, the then corporation of Madras was the chief organizer of the fair, including the Rekla race, before it was handed over to the South Indian Athletic Association (SIAA). Over the years, the venue shifted to Madhavaram High Road on the city outskirts. The Kangayam bulls, between the ages of 3-4, are the ones used for these races, and their prices could go up to Rs. 50,000/-.
Rekla racing has a unique charm and has been a part of India’s sporting culture for a long time. It is a sport that requires skill and agility, both from the rider and the bull. The riders must be able to control the bull and navigate the cart through the racecourse. The bulls must be strong and agile, capable of pulling the cart and running the racecourse. Rekla racing is not just a sport, but it is also a celebration of the bond between humans and animals.
The recent restoration of Rekla racing has brought joy to enthusiasts, including those who were celebrating the restoration of the Jallikattu sport. It is a testament to India’s diverse sporting heritage and the love for sports among its people. The restoration of Rekla racing is a positive step towards preserving India’s rich sporting culture and promoting the sports that are a part of it.
In conclusion, Rekla racing is a unique and fascinating sport that has been a part of India’s sporting culture for a long time. It is a celebration of the bond between humans and animals and requires skill and agility from both the rider and the bull. The recent restoration of Rekla racing is a positive step towards preserving India’s rich sporting culture and promoting the sports that are a part of it.