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Jallikattu 2024

An authentic tradition of bull taming is rather cruel and controversial. But it has a long history and is a colourful part of the local culture

Dates: January 15–16, 2024


India’s southern state Tamil Nadu annually holds a spectacle of bull taming, which is a key part of the harvest festival. The earliest evidence of this event has been featured in ancient Indian cave paintings and iconography. During Jallikattu, a Zebo (Bos indicus bull) is released into a crowd of men who are trying to stop and take the beast. Bos indicus bulls are usually bred specially for the event.

This event is associated with strength and courage and honours the bull owners. However, it is undoubtedly cruel to animals. In 2014 Jallikattu was banned by the Indian Supreme Court.

But it was such an important authentic tradition and inalienable part of rural society’s culture that thousands protested against the ban. After several years of continuous protests, in 2017 the Governor of Tamil Nadu issued an order authorising the continuation of Jallikattu. This decision was naturally disapproved by animal rights groups and many local activists.

One of the places where you can witness the Jallikattu is Alanganallur town in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, India.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin