The Kongunadu Livestock Festival

Hindu metro plus , The Splendid Cattle festival

Living in the South of India ,one has frequent opportunities to attend dog shows and equestrian events. For the first time I was invited to attend a livestock show by the team at Pollachi Papyrus ,with the focus being on country cattle. This was organized for the 2nd consecutive year at Pollachi by the Vanavarayar Foundation. My recent exposure to farming has contributed to my growing interest in the agricultural sector.This invitation therefore could not have come at a more opportune time.

Kangyam bull black

The Kangyam stud !

The event was held over three days. It is an opportunity for livestock owners to not only bring the best of their herd to be showcased but also to mingle with other farmers.My visit was scheduled for the 2nd day . After an early lunch I reached the venue in an hour and half. A large open space filled with coconut palms and grass fields was where the festival was held. A banner displayed out front read,“ Kongu Nattu Kaalnadai Thiruvizha” . Tents and shamianas were erected just inside the entrance.The first thing that caught our eye was the sight of an impressive kangyam bull , that was seated comfortably and slowly chomping away at his feed. Next to it a beautiful old traditional wooden carriage was displayed that was used as transportation back in the old days.

Vandi

The tents housed the many stalls that were put up to exhibit wares relating to agriculture. Many native varieties of seeds were on offer along with instructions on how to cultivate them. Innovations in agricultural implements were put up for exhibition and sale. What took me by surprise was the number of stalls that were selling different kinds of milking machines.

Once we stepped out into the open , we were in for a visual feast. I had never before seen such a remarkable variety of cows , bulls and buffaloes. The ones that evidently dominated the scene were the prized Kangyam studs. One could see the pride the owners had for their pets in the manner in which they were groomed.

The prize bulls

Proud owners with their ‘pets’ !

The coats were glossy , the horns gleamed like polished wood and the colours were just stunning. My companions and me found ourselves riveted to the spot unable to tear our gaze away from the magnificient beasts.

Kankrej breed

As we walked through the line up of cattle ,there was a sudden burst of noise followed by a lot of rattling and neighing. The arrival of the great big stallions was not to be missed and even the cows seemed aware of the excitement in the air !

The show offers plenty to see, for all ages. The sight of two young bulls locking horns , a grim faced big horned ram decorated with bells and brightly coloured threads, large angry cockrels spoiling for a fight ,are things that one gets to witness for real minus any fancy trappings.

Locked horns

A visitor also has the option of watching the happenings inside the enclosure. One learns how the age of the animal is determined.The teeth , skin and horns of the animals are checked to see if they are well taken care of.

The field

The open field

Once the competitions for the day are done , it’s time for some celebration. It was the first time that I got to see a dance troupe comprising entirely of men doing the kummi attam and the kolaattam . Their natural rhythm which kept time to loudly sung county songs with only the small cymbals for accompaniment made for an amazing watch. Next came the urumi attam dancers. The sound of the urumi is so unique and powerful that it instantly attracts the attention of all. As the crowds grow larger ,the setting sun announces that it’s time for me to head back.

Kummi attam

The amazing dancers- so graceful and rhythmic !

I linger on for a little while longer just to chat with some of the folk who have come with their families to enjoy this fair. They tell me that it’s a good way for people from neighbouring villages and farms to get together . It also helps the youngsters to bond and understand the ways of the land.

I promise myself that I will visit this festival again the next year . It’s definitely worthwhile to make an outing of this kind along with friends and family !

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