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Jallikattu, bull-taming sport, leaps into Sri Lanka, Governor flags off event for first time

2024-01-06 11:36:01

Jallikattu, a bull-taming sport, which is an age-old event played traditionally in parts of Tamil Nadu during the Pongal harvest festival, this year crossed the ocean and leapt into neighbouring Sri Lanka. Jallikattu is being organised for the first time in the island nation in Trincomalee.

Lankan Eastern Province Governor, Senthil Thondaman, and Malaysian MP Saravanan Murugan flagged off the event on Saturday, reported news agency ANI.

As many as 200 bulls are expected to participate while 100 bull-tamers queued up to play the sport in Trincomalee. More than 100 police personnel have been deployed for the safety and security of participants and viewers.

Thondaman, who hails from Tamil Nadu’s Sivagangai district, has been made the in-charge of organising the Jallikattu event.

In the game, which is believed to have been practising for 2,500 years, a bull is released into the crowd while a tamer tries to grab the hump on the bull’s back in an attempt to stop the bull from going amok.

Animal rights organisations have called for a ban on the sport, considering the risk of injuries to participants and the bulls.


In 2014, the Supreme Court imposed a ban on the bull-taming sport. However, the Tamil Nadu government passed an ordinance to allow organisation of the sport, with a few restrictions. Renowned leaders and actors in Tamil Nadu also supported the ordinance, with the general public protesting against the top court’s ban on the sport.

After long protests by the people of Tamil Nadu and the state government defending Jallikattu as a “cultural event”, the five-judge constitution bench of Supreme Court upheld the Tamil Nadu government’s ordinance allowing the sport in May 2023.


Organising Jallikattu in Sri Lanka showcases the shared heritage between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka through the cross-border celebration.

“We will be conducting Jallikattu, Rekla races, Silambam fights, boat races, and we have a lot of events connected to Pongal which are happening here,” Tondaman said as quoted by ANI, adding, “We are proud that the cultural events are restored with the Tamil community.”


Jallikattu was flagged off in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukkottai district on Saturday. On the inaugural day, as many as 500 bulls took part in the event.

However, 29 people were injured soon after the bull-taming sport kicked-off amid mega fanfare. The injured have been shifted to Thanjavur Medical College.

Published By:

Vadapalli Nithin Kumar

Published On:

Jan 6, 2024

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Sri Lanka, Jallikattu, Jallikattu in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Governor, Senthil Tondhaman, Tamil Nadu Jallikattu, bull-taming sport

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