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Kusthi - Phelwani | by Karthi KN Raveendiran
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Kusthi - Phelwani

Traditional Indian wrestling (Pehlwani) also known as kusthi is essentially a rural sport marked by the loud grunts of thickset men grappling with each other in earth pits. This sport is popular in Delhi haryana varnasi and the centre of popularity being kolhapur and central maharashtra.

Wrestlers belong to gyms called akharas, where wrestlers live under strict rules. Wrestling schools in maharashtra are known as taleems and not akharas.

The soil in which wrestlers fight is mixed with mustard oil, turmeric, ghee and milk. Small pooja is done everyday before starting the training or dangal competition.Hanuman is the deity of the pehlwans.A traditional wrestler leads a life of abstinence : see wine tobacco and drugs are not permitted. Wrestlers' diets consist of milk, almonds, ghee, eggs and chapattis and each wrestler has a job to do in preparing meals.

Pehlwans live a life of austerity ; extreme for of bhramacharya.



Wrestling competitions (dangal) takes place in circular or square arena measuring atleast 14 feet across.The dirt floors are maintained in right consistency _ soft enough to avoid injury and hard enough to impede the wrestlers movements..Largest wrestling tournament is held at the largest wrestling maidan in warananagar in kolhapur district, maharashtra on Dec 13th every year.Sad note of this traditional game is the lack of support of government and it's pressure to embrace international wrestling standards to Win medals in Olympics.It's popularity has dwindled over years due to red tapism and lack of funds from government.but there are still many akharas left and some dedicated people who are working to keep this ancient part of Indian culture alive.

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Taken on December 22, 2012