KUSHTI - Traditional Indian wrestling
Indian wrestlers, commonly known as pahalwans have been practicing the three thousand year old sport known as 'Kushti', a form of wrestling, in its traditional form in different akharas (traditional indian fight club). Kushti has a long tradition. It used to be supported by local maharajas in the old days and till date is hugely supported and financed by the rural network and the government alike. The wrestlers continue the rigorous schedule of waking up at 5 am everyday and practice more than 6 hours every day. Normal daily diet of a wrestler is 5kgs of vegetables, 3 litres of milk, amongst other things.
They live together in small rooms around the mud arena with very few belongings. They have been compared to holy men because of their celibacy and dedication. Though Kushti has managed to retain its traditions alive, few changes have been made to accomodate the modernity (mats, clothing, shoes etc.) in this sport, enabling the wrestlers to participate in various International arenas.
These are few photos of the pahalwans at Sri Hanuman Akhara in Delhi.