Madurai, Jan 18 : Thousands flocked to Madurai in Tamil Nadu to watch the traditional bull fight or 'Jallikattu.
'Jallikattu' is a major event in south India and is held as a thanks-giving ceremony for the animals that have helped in farm activities all the year round. The event was held amidst tight security after the Supreme Court conditionally granted permission for the event to take place, lifting an earlier ban on 'Jallikattu' which the court had imposed citing cruelty to animals as the main reason.
The ban, which was imposed on January 11, was lifted following protests from a large number of villagers in Madurai against the verdict.
The conditional lifting of ban has made people happy as they rejoiced during 'Jallikattu' and participated with full fervor and gaiety.
"For the past seven years, I have been taking part in 'Jallikattu' and winning prizes. Initially, I was sad because of the ban put on the event, but now I am very happy as the Supreme Court has lifted the ban," said Murugan, a participant.
Animal rights activists in Tamil Nadu had for long waged a war against continuing the decades old tradition of bull fighting during Pongal, terming it as the worst form of animal abuse in the name of a sport.
The event, which saw residents and foreigners in full strength, was appreciated by one and all for the thrills and adventure it provided to the spectators.
Squashing the belief about the game being 'dangerous' Amanda, a tourist said: "We enjoyed. We think it's not cruel to the bulls. The bulls don't get hurt. It wasn't dangerous for the bulls or for the people."
For others, the entire event was a wonderful experience.
"People here are very friendly. I am very happy to be here. I love India," said Ben, another foreigner.
The sport of Jallikattu is to wrest the bounty, which is held in a cloth bag tied between the horns of the bulls.
An agitated bull is let loose to run in an open space as a number of people attempt to tame the animal by controlling its horns with the victor taking the prize money home.
The horns of the adorned bulls are made wet before the event and the animal is rubbed down with oil making it more difficult to hold onto. To add to it the bulls are drugged and sometimes made to drink alcohol in order to enrage them during the event.