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Oct 17, 2009

Wrestlers of Mysore by Nitin Vishwas

By Nitin Vishwas
Traditional Indian wrestling or “kusti” as it is popularly known around the country enjoyed many patrons in the State of Mysore. The wrestlers are known as "pehelwans" and usually start at a very early age.
This city today has just about 50 such wrestling houses or “garadis” in the city, a sharp decline from over 100 in the past. This wrestling house in particular was over 100 years old, neatly tucked away in the heart of the old city.
Most of these garadis have common aesthetic charm in the way it was built. A shady pipal tree, a small portico for practice and a well are the signature features of any akhada or garadi. Earth, Air, water and trees form the soul of the garadi. The walls of the garadi are decorated with the bold, colorful paintings of Lord Hanuman, Garuda and other dramatic scenes from Hindu mythology. The garadi is essentially a shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman or Anjaneya. He is looked upon the as the God of Courage and Physical Strength. (Ref: Raghuram Ashok from flickr)
The best time to attend some of these wrestling matches is during the festival of Dussehera, in the month of October. These are usually held near the Exhibition Ground in front of the famous Mysore Palace.

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