Rajini, James Bond, Karuppu and Vellai eat nutritious food and swim in the Sholavaram lake to strengthen themselves. These are not men, but bulls, with menacingly sharp horns and great hump, getting ready to take part in the traditional ‘Eruthu Vidum Vizha’ (a bull race) in Vellore.
At least 250 to 300 bulls are gathered on a village street for the race that is touted as a century-old tradition. Each bull has to run 100 metres, and the one that covers the distance in the least time will be declared the winner. However, the event this year is expected to be held in compliance with the COVID-19 standard operating procedures. Unlike in the past, when it was held for five months, the race will get over by February-end because the Assembly election is fast approaching.
“The Collector has asked us to barricade the streets to prevent injuries to the spectators. Over 1,000 bulls will take part in the race across Vellore, Tirupathur and Ranipet districts. Each will be accompanied by 10 persons, and all of them will have to get a COVID-19 test done and a certificate from the tahsildar,” said N. Padmanabhan, treasurer, Eruthu Vidum Veera Vilaiyaatu Paadhukaapu Sangam, Vellore.
He said the Collector had also asked the organisers to complete the race before February. “Last year too, we were through with it by February-end owing to the pandemic; this time, it will be due to the election,” he added.
Owners are getting their bulls ready. “In south Tamil Nadu, jallikattu is famous and in the northern parts, it is the bull race. The race is conducted across the district from January to May usually,” says Jayaprakash of Sholavaram. He owns seven bulls. The bulls undergo training from December.
The bull owners have received permission to conduct the race in 250 streets across Vellore, Ranipet and Tirupattur districts.