6 Unusual Sports of India

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There are many unusual sports of India that many of you aren’t aware off. Be it Dhopkhel or Mallakhamb youngsters don’t no India’s great sporting history.

Unusual Sports of India

Did you know about Rural Olympics? While we are preoccupied with mainstream sports, the Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as the Rural Olympics, takes place annually near Ludhiana in Punjab.

It is a fest of some unusual sports of India that have been enjoyed by many generations of that area.

But Punjab isn’t the only state with such indigenous games and competitions. Let’s have a look at some unusual sports of India.

1.     Inbuan

Inbuan is a variation of wrestling which is famous in Mizoram since the early 1750s. It is held in a circle 15–16 feet in diameter on carpet or grass. The game has three rounds about 30 to 60 seconds each. The objective is to lift one’s opponent off his feet while strictly adhering to the rules. Stepping outside the ring and bending of knees is not permitted. The belt or catch-hold rope, around the waist, has to remain tight all through the game.

2.  Mallakhamb

Malla‘ means gymnast, and ‘khamb’ means pole. Mallakhamb is an ancient Indian sport which dates back to the 12th century. The sport was forgotten for a long time until Balambhatta Dada Deodhar, the sports and fitness instructor to Peshwa Bajirao II, revived it in the 19th century. He thought it was an excellent sport for increasing strength and flexibility of the soldiers.  It is still a very prevalent activity in the state of Maharashtra, and children are trained for it from a very tender age. It involves an immense amount of control and focus on one’s movements.  The sport has gained some international popularity too. Truly, the unusual sports of India going global.

3.     Kalarippayattu

If you visit Kerala, you shouldn’t a performance of the spectacular martial art of Kalarippayattu. Keralaites take pride in this traditional sport and claim that it is the first martial art. It requires a specially crafted sword and shield. The practice includes strikes, kicks, grappling, weaponry and healing methods. It takes years to master and is stunning to watch. Being featured in conventional movies like Asoka (2001), The Myth (2005), The Last Legion (2007), Commando (2013) and Baaghi (2016), the martial art has gained some worldwide popularity.

4.     Yubee Lakpee

Yubee in Manipuri means coconut, and lakpee means snatching. It is a popular outdoor sport in Manipur. Yubee Lakpee is very similar to rugby and a coconut is used like a ball. It has its origins in mythology. It is said that it was played on the grounds of the Bijoy Govinda Temple on the pichakaree day by persons acting as gods and demons. The game was celebrated annually on this day, re-enacting the scene from Hindu mythology involving snatching a pot of amrit. In present day Manipur it is played by men only.

5.     Dhopkhel

Dhopkhel is a seasonal game, played during the Assam’s Spring Festival, known as Rangoli Bihu. It is the most popular amongst the unusual sports of the state. The game was once played to amuse Ahom royalty. It is played between two eleven member teams on a 125 m × 80 m field. “Dhop” is the ball that is thrown at each other by the teams and if it does not fall on the opponent’s court, it is to be thrown again. The dhop has to be caught by the opposing team, and if they fail, the other team takes the throw.

6.     Asol Aap and Asol-Tale Aap

Two of the major native games of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are Asol Aap and Asol-Tale Aap. Both involve racing canoes. In Asol Aap, the canoe race takes place in the ocean waters whereas in the case of Asol-Tale Aap they are raced on sand. At Car Nicobar, the Asol Aap race is organised by the Nicobar Athletic Association. The number of participants is generally 40 to 90, depending on the size of the canoe. The race is about 5 to 6 km long. In Asol-Tale Aap, the participants have to drag the canoe in the sand with their legs and arms. Whoever completes the distance the fastest, wins.

7. Kambala Buffalo Race

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Source Flickr

One of the most popular, but also lest known unusual sports of India has to be Kambala Buffalo race. The lush greenery of the paddy fields and their slush and mud serves as the backdrop for this unusual sports of India.

Over a five month period from November to March, around 45 buffalo races are held in the villages along Karnataka’s coastline with farmers racing a pair of their fastest buffaloes.

A rural sporting event that generates a lot of enthusiasm led by cheering crowds, Kambala was originally conceived as a symbolic thanksgiving to the Almighty for keeping the buffaloes protected against diseases.

8. Elephant polo

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(Source – Mha Ro Rajasthan)

All of us have seen the sport of Polo played via using horses, but have seen Elephant Polo?

Of course, this form of sport does seem to be endless, given the massive size of the animals used, the amount of time it takes the player to maneuver them around to hit the ball.

As far as the rules of the game are concerned each player is given three chances to hit the ball without hooking the sticks. No more than two elephants of a team can be present in any one half of the play field. Elephants cannot lie down before reaching their goals. They are also not allowed to use their trunks to pick up balls.

Historians believe this unusual sports of India originated during the 1900’s. The sport is equally popular among the ladies. They are allowed to use both hands to hold the polo stick while men playing the game must use just one.

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