Akhara's - The Traditional Gyms of Varanasi

PhotographerShantanu Saha
Prize3rd Place in Special / Travel/Tourism
Entry Description

Wrestling is a traditional sport in India known as "Kushti". The wrestlers go to the local gyms known as "akhara"s, where they train themselves using the traditional methods and routines. They weight train using heavy clubs of different shapes and sizes, each having its own specific purpose. They are followers of the monkey god, Hanuman, the Hindu god of might. They treat these gyms as a sacred place. The bout takes place in an arena of dirt on the ground. The culture of wrestling is still very popular in Varanasi and surrounding areas where they host annual tournaments each year in monsoon.