Considered one of the most ancient and oldest sports in the world, wrestling in India has a glorious past.
Wrestling has been popular in India since ancient times, it was mainly an exercise to stay physically fit. The wrestlers, traditionally, use to wear a loincloth, langota. In Ancient India wrestling was most famously known as Malla-yuddha. One of the premier characters in Mahabharata, Bhima was considered to be a great wrestler of the time, and some of the other great wrestlers included Jarasandha, Duryodhan and Karna. In the other Indian epic, Ramayana also mentions wrestling in India and Hanuman is described as one of the greatest wrestlers of his time.
During the Muhgal rule who were of Turko-Mongol descent, the influence of Iranian and Mongolian wrestling were incorporated to the local Malla-yuddha to form the modern Pehlwani.
Wrestling in India is also known as dangal, and it is the basic form of a wrestling tournament.
Indian Wrestling in Olympics:
Bronze: Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav in 1952,
Bronze: Sushil Kumar in 2008,
Silver: Sushil Kumar in 2012,
Bronze: Sakshi Malik in 2016
Sultans of Strength – A Documentary about the Desi Wrestling Culture, known as Kushti or Mud Wrestling.
We travelled into the heart of India to know more about the Warrior Monks known as Pahalwans – Indian Mud Wrestlers.
The world we found was very different from what is portrayed in the glitz and glamour of Bollywood movies such as Sultan & the upcoming Aamir Khan starrer, Dangal.
These wrestlers are a far cry from the glitzy WWE style of wrestling that most people are accustomed to. Even Khali The Great, started off by learning to wrestle in his village “akhada,” which is basically a mud wrestling pit
See the video to get a glimpse of the simple and almost ascetic life styles, that these Indian wrestlers lead, employing simple calisthenics, a vegetarian diet and natural body building techniques to train their minds and bodies for combat.