Ever since I discovered the world of Pakistani wrestlers and Pehalwan, I then stumbled upon the world of India’s Kushti Wrestling. Here is a great read on this ancient Indian sport that was recently banned due to hazards* with the red soil. [* I need to research further info on this.]
KOLHAPUR, INDIA – MARCH 22: Indian men practice the three thousand year old sport known as “Kushti”, a form of wrestling, in its traditional form at the fight club Shahupuri in Kolhapur, India. In this south-eastern Indian city Kushti has a long tradition. It used to be supported by local maharajas and is financed by the government. But its days are Last year, the Indian Fighters Federation in the capital of New Delhi stunned thousands of fighters when it announced prohibition of fighting on red soil and ordered fight clubs to buy mattresses for their arenas. Ending the traditional red clay wrestling was an idea sprouted from the aspiration to achieve more Olympic medals since the last and only medal India brought home in wrestling was a bronze in 1952. So far no one here in Kolhapur is buying the mattresses and instead they continue the rigorous schedule of waking up at 3:30am six times a week and practicing more than 6 hours every day. They live together in one small room above the arena and their only belongings are a blanket, a few items of clothes and some books about the art of Kushti. They have been compared to holy men because of their celibacy and dedication and they practice exercises like standing on one’s head for lengths of time to expel “filthy” thoughts. (Photo by Ami Vitale)
[SOURCE: Amy Vitale: Kushti Wrestling]
The photos I’ve posted here are from an amazing photographer named Ami Vitale. She managed to perfectly capture the sublime beauty of these fighters in their natural element.