Madurai, Jan 17 (PTI) Several bull tamers were injured in the bull taming sport of Jallikattu which was held across Tamil Nadu Thursday with great fanfare as part of Pongal festivities which began on January 15.

At the bustling hamlet of Alanganallur near here, a popular venue for the sport, 800 bull tamers pitted their skills against 900 bulls.

Several hundreds of spectators egged the participants on.

Gifts worth lakhs of rupees were given to those who succeeded in taming the bulls and bull owners whose animals could not be tamed.

The events were also held at several locations including Avarangadu in Tiruchirappalli),Pudukottai, Karur and Dindigul.

Many bull tamers were injured in the events, police said.

Other rural sporting events like bullock cart rallies were also held in several villages.

At Coimbatore, traditional village dances like ‘Oyilattam’ were conducted and heritage musical instruments were played so that people could get to have a glimpse of those used in bygone eras.

Jallikattu had already been conducted at Palamedu (Madurai) and Periya Suriyoor (Tiruchirappalli), famous for the bull taming sport, on Wednesday and at Avaniapuram (Madurai) on Tuesday, coinciding with the Pongal festival.

Over 800 bull tamers took part while more than 700 bulls were used. About 100 youths and some spectators were injured in these events, police said.

The successful bull tamers and owners of bulls that could not be reined in were showered with gifts including motorcyle (Best Tamer) and a car (Best Bull) in the events.

Usually, temple bulls are first sent through the ‘Vaadi Vasal,” the entrance to the sporting arena as part of prayers for a good harvest and prosperity and in keeping with tradition such animals are not caught by the tamers.

Several events centred on rural sports and folk arts were also held across Tamil Nadu by the tourism department as part of the Pongal celebrations.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.