Mysuru Pailwans get ready to enter Dasara wrestling arena
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Mysuru Pailwans get ready to enter Dasara wrestling arena

September 5, 2022

By Mohan Kayaka

With Dasara fast approaching, wrestlers of Mysuru are getting ready to enter the wrestling arena to take part in the prestigious Dasara wrestling event due to take place during Dasara festivities.

The Pailwans, both Junior and Senior, are bracing themselves for the grand event by sweating it out in about 35 ‘Garadi Manes’ spread across the city. The Pailwans begin the day with workouts as early as 3 am at these Garadi Manes. However, only those who excel in Garadi Manes are identified and trained for the grand Dasara wrestling tournament. The select Pailwans who are going to take part in the wrestling bouts, are given tips on training and food practices, which they should maintain everyday.

While senior wrestler trainer L. Manjappa is training the Dasara wrestling aspirants at Lions Club of Mysore, retired trainer K. Srinivas Gowda is training the wrestlers at Sahukar Channaiah wrestling arena, with support from Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Garadi Sangha.

Likewise, wrestlers are sweating it out at Paduvarahalli’s Hattu Janagala Garadi, Sunnadakeri’s Bestara Kalannanavara Garadi, Bhootappana Garadi, Kyathamaranahalli’s Hattu Janagala Garadi, ISKCON Garadi, Ittigegud Garadi and K.G. Koppal Garadi.

Wrestling has a special place during Dasara and as such there is a growing number of participants. The seven-day Dasara wrestling event attracts more than 200 pairs of wrestlers from different parts of the State, chiefly from the districts of Mysuru, Bengaluru, Chamarajanagar, Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot, Chikkodi and Ramanagara.

Most wrestlers prefer taking part in ‘Nada Kusti’ over ‘Mat Kusti’ in Dasara wrestling competition. Young Pailwans and Pailwans weighing more than 90 kg take part in different categories of wrestling bouts, with more than 100 Pailwans from Mysuru alone entering the arena. Ahead of Dasara, the Garadi Manes of the city are flooded with Dasara wrestling aspirants, who vie with each other for getting the perfect training for the grand event. Apart from ‘Nada Kusti,’ Pailwans also take part in Matti and Mat formats of wrestling.

Meanwhile, the number of Garadi Manes in the city is fast declining as years pass by. There were about 74 Garadi Manes during the times of Wadiyars. But this number has now come down to about 30. This apart, the number of Garadi Manes elsewhere in the districts of Mysuru and Chamarajanagar too has come down drastically over the years. Several Garadi Manes are forced to shut down for want of patronage. However, there is a brighter side too as villagers and village leaders are taking care of Garadi Manes in some places, while in the case of some others, senior wrestlers are striving to keep the Garadi Mane tradition alive and kicking by imparting training to budding wrestlers periodically.

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Pailwan R. Yeshwanth, who bagged the  first place for three successive years (2017 to 2019) at the Divisional-level of Dasara wrestling event, continues to be the prime attraction this year too. Pailwan Yeshwanth, who has trained at Sunnadakeri’s Bhootappana Garadi Mane, is now all set to enter the Dasara wrestling arena this year in the open white category. Yeshwanth, who has won many State-level wrestling tournaments, is also the prime attraction at wrestling events that take place in other States.

Likewise, Pailwan Basavaraju of Kyathamaranahalli’s Hattu Mane Garadi, who has won 5 Dasara Nada Kusti titles, Pailwan Mukesh and Pailwan Chandru of Paduvarahalli Hattu Mane Garadi, Sunnadakeri’s Bestara Kalannanavara Garadi Mane’s Bhyrappa Nayaka, Pailwan Thakur, Pailwan Chetan Gowda, Pailwan Yogesh Udbur, Pailwan Shakti Ramesh, Pailwan Rajendra, 13-year-old Woman Pailwan Ritu, who is getting trained by senior trainer L. Manjappa, other woman wrestlers Sinchana and Yashaswini, who are being trained by K. Srinivas Gowda, are the other attractions of Dasara wrestling bouts this year.

According to senior wrestling trainer K. Srinivas Gowda, Pailwans who win Dasara titles will get more honour and recognition. Maintaining that taking part in Dasara wrestling competition itself is something special, he said that the winner will always have a special place. Pointing out that sponsors announce prizes for some wrestling bouts, he said that the Dasara heritage wrestling arena is getting readied after a gap of two years due to COVID pandemic and all Pailwans who want to participate are eagerly  awaiting the tournament, which attracts nationwide wrestling enthusiasts for its speciality.

‘Nada Kusti’ is exciting, scintillating

Nada Kusti is the most popular wrestling bout among all the Dasara wrestling categories. The wrestler pairs will be paired depending upon the capacity of wrestlers. However, age and weight factors are not taken into account while pairing.

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Senior Pailwan Mahadev told Star of Mysore that the wrestlers are free to take on their challengers in ‘Nada Kusti’ category.  The speciality of this category is that newcomers challenge the experienced wrestlers.

The bouts will be all the more exciting whenever our local wrestlers challenge Pailwans from other States.

Soon as a local wrestler is paired to take on a wrestler from other State, the local wrestler gets special training and at the same time will be under observation. Here, the weight factor of the opponent is chiefly taken into account.

On the day of the bout, the local wrestler will take the blessings of his ‘Guru,’ before entering the wrestling arena. If he wins the bout, then he will be taken in a grand procession from the arena to the Garadi Mane where he underwent training.

Here it is to be noted that ‘Nada Kusti’ is more special than ‘Point Kusti’ type. ‘Nada Kusti’ is exciting and scintillating every moment of the bout and as such it has gained more popularity than any other categories of wrestling.

The nearest category that comes close to ‘Nada Kusti’ in terms of popularity and patronage is ‘Marpeet Kusti,’ which too is exciting.

‘Mat Kusti’ has future

According to senior wrestling trainer L. Manjappa, ‘Mat Kusti’ has a better future than ‘Matti Kusti’ category of wrestling. In Matti Kusti, Pailwans compete for a few years, before leaving it. Though this often keeps them in good health, there is no individual benefit from this category. Winning the bout in this category will not help the winners much in getting Government benefits.

But ‘Mat Kusti’ is different as it is of point type and the winners of bouts in this form can earn name and fame at different levels. Also, the winners will stand a better chance to get Government jobs under Sports quota at the State and National-levels.

However, Matti wrestlers argue that the Government should come to their aid by extending these benefits to them too, Manjappa explained.

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