Mallakhambha is a blend of physical fitness and inner strength. it accentuates the resilience of its practioners
Mallakhambha is an ancient form of Bharatiya sport patronised by various Bharatiya kings. It involves gymnasts, performing yogic postures on a vertical pole or hanging rope. It was traditionally practised in North Karnataka but later found appeal in Maharashtra too. Meaning ‘Wrestlers/Gymnasts Pole’, the sport was popular among wrestlers in the early days.
A Malakhamba exhibition
Mallakhambha is detailed in Somesvara Chalukya’s work‘Manasollasa’ written in the 12th century. Mallakhambha was practised regularly by the soldiers and wrestlers to build stamina and strength. Peshwa Baji Rao II is said to have been a great admirer of the sport. Mallakhambha was regularly practised in many Gurukulas in North Karnataka and was part of the daily routine.
Malkhamb using Rope
With the advent of the English schooling system in Bharat, the sport was out of the syllabus for a long time as British physical training modules replaced traditional Indian sports in schools. A century later, Mallakhambha was reduced to a display sport in events and fairs and was practised by a handful of people in North Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra.
Malkhamb In Mangaluru
After Independence, efforts were made to popularise the sport again. Mallakhamb made an entry into competitive sports in the National Gymnastics Championships of 1958. The first National Mallakhamb Championships was held in 1962. In 1981, All India Invitational National Mallakhamb Championships were organised in Ujjain which brought representatives from all over India, who participated in these Championships and together they officially formed the “Mallakhamb Federation of India” on 29th January 1981. Since then, the National Mallakhamb Championships are being organised by different State Associations affiliated to the Federation.
Mallakhamb competitions organised by “Mallakhamb Federation of India” cover three varieties of Mallakhamb. 1. Pole Mallakhamb, 2. Hanging Mallakhamb, 3. Rope Mallakhamb. With such sustained efforts, Mallakhamb is finding wider acceptance each year.