A loud and colourful crowd to me, is the rural Olympics – a proud tradition and event since 1933!
There are spectators, and then the braver ones – they participate! You need to possess definite athletic ability, show some character and push your own limitations!
The Rural Olympics as it is commonly known come from the age-old tradition of the Punjab. Also referred to as the Kila Raipur Festival, it takes place in an otherwise sleepy village near Ludhiana in February each year and boasts loads of interesting games. The participants range from all ages, with participants even needed for a 100m race for the grand old men of 90 years.
The general aim of the games, has always has been to promote a culture of a healthy body and a healthy mind to people of all ages.
There are rural games, modern sports and performing sports. Rural games are like kabaddi, wrestling and weight lifting. Modern sports like athletics, hockey, football, volleyball, cycling and handball are also participated in. The performing sports, for many the most interesting look into the Punjabi tradition consist of acrobatics, laying under a moving tractor, cracking stones by placing them on ones chest, bullock cart racing and a horse dance competition. Another amazing test of will is holding up a bicycle with one’s teeth.
Controversy surrounded this, usually festive, event in 2012 when the bull cart race was banned following the accusation of animal cruelty. This, even though other competitions in which animals took part, carried on as normal. Bulls are not the only animals taking part in these games – dogs, camels and mules also feature in the event. The bull cart race is very popular and provides good participation from the sidelines!
Kila Raipur, whatever your opinion of it, remains an occasion with great entertainment, a festive atmosphere and with definite inspiration from its participants!