Interesting And Historic Facts About 5000 Years Old Martial Sport “Jallikattu”

January 12, 2017

Jallikattu is an ancient sport. The seals of the Indus Valley civilisation depict it, which is proof that this sport was in vogue 5,000 years ago (2nd BCE – 2nd CE).

This game was named as Jallikattu from calli kacu which means coins and kattu which means a packages. So in this game a package of money was tied to the horns of a bull as winning prize.

Jallikattu is played in the old village of Tamil Nadu and believed to be the oldest sport in the villages. This game is a blood sport which is believed to be played in 1000 BC.

Between 2010 to 2014 it was reported that more than 1100 people had seriously injured during this game and more than 17 people derived to death. In the last two decades over 200 people have lost their lives while playing this sport.

A well-preserved seal found at Mohenjodaro in the 1930s is available at the Delhi Museum, which depicts the bull fighting practice prevalent during the Indus Valley Civilization.


There are several rock paintings, more than 3,500 years old, at remote Karikkiyur village in the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu that show men chasing bulls.


This sport represents a different facet of the Tamil culture. This was a martial sport in olden days to keep the warriors prepared for the war even during the peace time. Also, it was played to prove their manhood / bravery to win the hearts of brides.

Historical references show that in ancient times, this sport is termed as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ meaning Touching / hugging the bull. It was popular among warriors during the Tamil classical period. Later, in the Nayak / colonial period, this term changed to ‘jallikattu.’



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