Nagpanchami is the day where apart from worshipping the serpents, dangals are organized in the akhadas in various parts of India. Uttar Pradesh is one such state where dangals are nothing short of being a celebration in itself. The Gomti Akhada Samiti announced its 55th year of competition while Ganeshganj too held a contest on this eve. But it is the Swaminath, Varanasi’s famous akhada at Tulsighat which takes the cake when it comes to the mud-wrestling events.
It is a norm for the crowd to start moving towards the Tulsi Ghat since the wee hours to watch the wrestlers tussle it out. The day just doesn’t get started unless you’ve seen a couple of desi ‘dav-pech’ grips thrown on the mud turf.
But because it’s 2017 and women aren’t the ones to be left behind, they too made it to the crowd to watch the popular wrestling contest.
Wondering why? For the first time in 478 years, Tulsi Ghat permitted women to enter the Tulsi Ghat, all thanks to Aamir Khan’s Dangal, says the organizer of Sankatmochan Foundation.
Making the most of this maiden opportunity, a dozen of girls hailing from nearby districts of UP participated in the wrestling competition.
Tulsidas, on whose name Tulsi Ghat has been named, started the tradition of dangal at this bank. The legendry akhada went on to produce award-winning wrestlers such as Kallu Pehlwan and many others.
This year three rounds of matches were held where in the end, four girls were declared as winners by the foundation.
"It was amazing to wrestle at the place where my grandpa Kallu Pahlwan and his pupils practised for years," says Palak Yadav (10), one of the winners. She is of the many girls in UP who took to wrestling after watching Dangal.
(Representational image) Source: youtube
Dr Vishambhar Nath Mishra, a professor and the mahant of the Sankatmochan temple in Varanasi is the man of the hour who is being credited for bending the gender stereotype and the age-old tradition.
"Our home in Varanasi is the place where Rani Laxmibai was born. By opening the ancient Akhada for women wrestlers, we wish to encourage girls to take forward the Laxmibai's valour and courage," says Dr Vijaya Nath Mishtra, the mahant's brother and a neurologist.
Information source: dna
Title image source: youtube