Contributions Welcome

This blog belongs to everyone interested in preserving and promoting traditional Indian wrestling. Please feel free to contribute photos, videos, links to news articles or your own blog posts. E-mail contributions to

Oct 30, 2011

Dasara Dangal at Dundaheda

By Deepak Ansuia Prasad 

Every year, the village of Dundaheda celebrates Dasara with a spectacular dangal. This year, a friend of mine, Himanshu Bisht, from Uttarakhand joined me to watch the competition. We were delayed for a while, but Ajit pahalwan, the guru of Aya Nagar Akhara helped me find my way and reached the wrestling area at about 4.p.m. That meant that we missed the very beginning, when wrestling area is sanctified. And we also missed the kids’ matches, which is a shame. They are the future of wrestling, so it’s important to encourage them.

We got a warm welcome from the dangal committee and the turnout was massive. People flocked from miles around and found seats wherever they could. There were lots of great matches.

A wrestler named Pradeep from Chatrasaal Stadium Akhara got a good clinch on his opponent and threw him on the ground. He was so happy with his victory! Another wrestler scored a quick pin using a move called kalajung, which made the crowd go wild. Krishan Pahalwan managed to pin his opponent using a move called dhak, which really pleased the crowd. He is from the nearby village of Nathupur so he had a lot of fans in the audience.

Sachin Pahalwan of Bhagtu Akhara wrestled Kuldeep Pahalwan of Leelu Akhara. Both wrestlers were so skilled – it made for a very exciting and crowd-pleasing match. And Anni Pahalwan pinned a tough opponent in another match.

Aashu Pahalwan, the nephew of Pahalwan Dheeraj of Jharsa, got his prize beefed up after winning his match. Referee Satish Pandit and the dangal committee asked the spectators to reward him for a well-fought match.

The first prize match was between Babbu Pahalwan of Sonipat and Goti Pahalwan of Guru Hanuman Akhara. The MLA of the area, Rao Dharampal Ji inaugurated the bout. Last year, the final bout of the dangal had been declared a draw. So everyone was eager to see if one of these would secure a pin this year. By the time the match started thousands of the spectators filled the stadium. A few were even on nearby rooftops while other climbed trees just to get a view of the match. As the two wrestled, the prize money went up and up as the fans kept putting in more. It finally swelled to a whopping 1510000/- rupees. But the match came to an abrupt end when Goti accidently pushed Babbu out of the wrestling pit, injuring Babbu’s knee. The match had to be stopped and was declared a draw.

The village committee thanked the throngs of spectators who had turned out to watch hundreds of bouts. Then referee Mukesh Pahalwan said they were going to ask Sushil Kumar to compete here for a prize of 5 lac rs. All the senior wrestlers, gurus, coaches and khalifas – as well as the police officers who were in charge of security – were all honored with pagari. And I was also honored for my service the sport.

It was a great sight to see so many magnificent wrestlers travel so far to compete here. And an even greater sight to see so much enthusiasm from this massive crowd of spectators.