Meet the Dangal kings: A ground report from the mud pits of north India - Hindustan Times
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Meet the Dangal kings: A ground report from the mud pits of north India

Jan 29, 2016 02:30 PM IST

Wrestling is the inspiration for two big Hindi films this year. A ringside view of the carnival of akhada culture.

Ask for directions to the dangal and the buzurg sprawled on a cot tells us to follow the thump of the drumbeat. Walking in the bylanes, past women washing clothes and stray dogs jousting in the sun, you hear a shrill announcement on a loudspeaker: Today’s jhandi kushti (title bout) is between ‘Himachal Kesri’ Gaurav Una and ‘Patiala ka Sher’ Binder Samana.

Time for some daav pech: Wrestlers grapple under an Acacia tree at the Doomcheri akhada near Chandigarh. (Photo by Gurinder Osan/ Hindustan Times)
Time for some daav pech: Wrestlers grapple under an Acacia tree at the Doomcheri akhada near Chandigarh. (Photo by Gurinder Osan/ Hindustan Times)
Log on to fitness: Paraminder Doomcheri, 43, often referred to as the Sachin Tendulkar of mud wrestling, pulls a log to strengthen his thigh muscles. (Photo by Gurinder Osan/ Hindustan Times)
Log on to fitness: Paraminder Doomcheri, 43, often referred to as the Sachin Tendulkar of mud wrestling, pulls a log to strengthen his thigh muscles. (Photo by Gurinder Osan/ Hindustan Times)
Twist and shout: A sequence of images captures the action at the Makar Sankranti dangal in Chandigarh. In freestyle kushti, you can twist your opponent’s legs, sit on his chest, even pull him by his loincloth, if it helps you in the bout.
Twist and shout: A sequence of images captures the action at the Makar Sankranti dangal in Chandigarh. In freestyle kushti, you can twist your opponent’s legs, sit on his chest, even pull him by his loincloth, if it helps you in the bout.
Wrestle mania: Fans gather around the akhada at the New Year dangal held by the Ghitorni Village panchayat in South Delhi. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Wrestle mania: Fans gather around the akhada at the New Year dangal held by the Ghitorni Village panchayat in South Delhi. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
A kushti selfie: Victorious wrestlers often do a round of the akhada, meeting their fans and getting cash rewards.
A kushti selfie: Victorious wrestlers often do a round of the akhada, meeting their fans and getting cash rewards.
Ripple effect: Sushil Kumar (left) with Amit Dahiya. (Photo: Raj K Raj)
Ripple effect: Sushil Kumar (left) with Amit Dahiya. (Photo: Raj K Raj)
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