Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Indian cowboys grab the bull by the horns at ‘Jallikattu’

Indian cowboys grab the bull by the horns at ‘Jallikattu’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
‘Jallikattu’, or the taming of the bulls, is a hugely popular annual event in India’s Tamil Nadu state. AFP

Indian cowboys grab the bull by the horns at ‘Jallikattu’

Teams of daring young men grappled in the dirt with furious bucking bulls on Monday at an often-lethal Indian festival that has been a proverbial red rag to animal rights activists.

“Jallikattu,” or the taming of the bulls, is a hugely popular annual event in Tamil Nadu state, where revellers wrestle the beasts into submission as they run past crowds of people.

The animals, often festooned with marigold flowers, are released from pens and young men try to grab them by their sharpened horns or humps.

Prizes for the best bull-tamers range from cars, motorcycles and fridges to television sets, gold coins and furniture.

Jallikattu remains wildly popular despite the danger of the spectacle.

One teenage spectator was gored by a bull on Friday and brought to hospital where he was declared dead, local media reported.

Fatalities are common, with several killed in recent years after bulls broke through the barricades separating fans from the action in the arena.

Controversy has also raged over the treatment of animals.

Activists say they are fed alcohol and chilli powder is thrown in their faces to make them aggressive before the contest.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A participant tries to control a bull during an annual bull taming event ‘Jallikattu’ in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu on January 15. AFP

India’s Supreme Court outlawed Jallikattu in 2016 after animal rights groups argued the bulls were abused.

The court ruling triggered widespread protests in the state capital Chennai and other major cities, and the state government issued an executive order to allow the festival to resume a year later.

Organisers and politicians in Tamil Nadu have denied the animals are mistreated, and fans describe Jallikattu as a crucial part of the area’s culture and identity.

“This is very ancient, it dates back since the time of my grandfather’s grandfather,” Ayyanan Subbaiah, a farmer at the festival, said.

The number of competitors was lower this year, however, as India sees a recent surge in Covid-19 cases with the spread of the Omicron variant.

The festival capped the number of bulls at 800 – two-thirds of the usual number – and all bull-tamers required full vaccination.


  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the