Bullock cart race at Munagapaka in Vizag
City dwellers flocked to rural areas of Visakhapatnam over the weekend to witness bullock carts racing, a part of Indian harvest festival Makar Sankranti.
Visakhapatnam: City dwellers flocked to rural areas of Visakhapatnam over the weekend to witness bullock carts racing, a part of Indian harvest festival Makar Sankranti.
In the Munagapaka Hamlet, the village council called farmers to get their bullocks with the added incentive of prizes.
"In the part of the festival of Makar Sankranti, so many farmers are attending with bullock carts and with pairs (two bullocks to a cart). In this village, the gram panchayat (village council) arranged for the prize money 1, 2, 3 like this. So many (farmers) are participating and this and enjoying for a lot," said an organiser, Palle Sateesh.
Each pair of bullocks cost between Rs.400,000 and Rs.50 lakhs and are considered prestigious symbols to landlords who bring them to farmers participating in races.
Breeds like Mysore (found in neighbouring Karnataka state), Ongole (in Andhra Pradesh) are common among others.
Visitors said that bullock racing was very typical of Indian culture, one which was slowly losing itself as generations progress.
"This is the tradition of the old Indians. Nowadays people are thinking newly (different) but we have to see this one and we enjoy it," said a visitor, Satyanarayana.
Makar Sankranti, which was celebrated on January 14 this year, marks the beginning of New Year. Festivities often extend beyond the day of festival. It is believed that a bath in the holy river absolves devotees of all their sins.
While the harvest festival is named Lohri in northern parts of India, down south it is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
In northeastern Assam state, it is known as Bihu.