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Aug 30, 2008
Aug 21, 2008
Aug 18, 2008
Aug 16, 2008
After cleaning up the wrestlers prepare meals. One of the tasks is grinding up almonds. After the almonds have been reduced to a paste, they are put into a cloth or a strainer and milk or water is squeezed through - producing a protein-filled drink designed to build muscles.
Most akharas have outdoor washing facilities. Some have shower heads, but others have a water tank where water is scooped out in buckets to wash.
Aug 15, 2008
Wrestlers perform squats to build up strength in their legs.
There are no weight classes in traditional kushti, so most wrestlers aim to get as big as they can. Smaller wrestlers often train with much bigger guys.
To get a better grip, wrestlers pour dirt from the pit on each other.
Aug 14, 2008
This akhara has both a traditional clay/dirt pit and a mat as well. Wrestlers split their time training on the mat and in the pit.
Aug 13, 2008
Membership at this akhara is in the hundreds, but some wrestlers only attend practice occasionally. The pit is only big enough for a few wrestlers to train at one time.
This akhara in Delhi has shrunk in size recently, as the road beside it is being widened. The government does little to support these old akharas and ignored protests by the wrestlers about losing part of their training facilities.
Aug 12, 2008
Traditional Indian wrestling isn't just a sport - it's an ancient subculture where wrestlers live and train together and follow strict rules on everything from what they can eat to what they can do in their spare time. Drinking, smoking and even sex are off limits. The focus is on living a pure life, building strength and honing their wrestling skills.