Pehlwani, Literally meaning “two-limbed sword,” Pehlwani, or also called sushi, is an ancient form of wrestling competitions found in the Indian subcontinent, predominantly in the state of Gujarat. It originated with Parsis, who migrated from Western Asia to the Indian subcontinent in 7th century BC, and once again with the Mughals who took over parts of India. The history of Pehlwani can be traced back to the 12th century when it was first used for wrestling contests. It was very popular in that era, and people considered wrestling as a kind of battle.
Today, Pehlwani is popular all over the world. It is widely used by wrestling fans, not only in India but in Pakistan as well. In fact, there are lots of wrestling schools that teach Pehlwani to students. Pehlwani has many types of categories, which include saber, power, weight and open. These categories make it easy for fans to choose matches according to their interest. In addition, Pakistani teams also train in various arenas to hone their skills in wrestling.
Pehlwani is not only for wrestling events.
Earlier, it was a part of the sport of saber. However, the sport’s popularity witnessed a decline, and with time it became completely independent from saber sports. Today, it is very popular in all circles in Pakistan. It is one of the most anticipated sports at any given time in Pakistan. Almost all sports enthusiasts, whether a fan of Pehlwani or not, is passionate about the sport.
People in India started to learn the sport of Pehlwani over a period of time. It is not surprising to find that, in the entire historic history of wrestling, India has a rich tradition of it. The earliest evidence of it comes from the chariot races conducted during the Mughal Empire. It was a common sport in that era. Wrestling developed even further during the British rule in India when wrestlers trained with some of the top Europeans to polish their skills. These days, Indian Malla-Yuddha is considered a part of Indian wrestling tradition.
Pehlwani is performed in a ring or an arena called a masjid. The venue is decorated with banners and other items to create a festive atmosphere. The matches take place in open arenas which sometimes have music systems to enhance the atmosphere. Some of the matches are even telecast on a global television network. In some instances, audience members or competitors from other parts of the world come to cheer the performers on. Most pehlwans take part in international competitions; like the Asian Games, World Games and Olympic Games.
Pehlwani wrestling is not only a competition but also a contest of strength. Competitors try to throw their opponent out of a wooden ring or out of a large round ring they have created by arranging pelicans (round wooden planks) with ropes on them. It takes lots of hard work and lots of training for wrestlers to be able to throw their opponents out of these rings, sometimes with great acrobatics and moves.
Pehlwani is not just about a sport though. It’s also a religious activity for many of its followers. As a religion, some followers even cut off their hair, wear special costumes and perform dances and rituals to worship the lord. A typical evening at a wrestling school will have some dancers, chanting and music playing while the wrestlers exercise their muscles and pray for victory. The sport itself has a history that goes back thousands of years.
Pehlwani may sound a little strange, but it’s actually a rather interesting tradition in India. It may have started as a way for Hindu women to bond together, but today it is looked upon as a more feminine and secular sport. The word pehlwa comes from two words, “peel” and “na” meaning to pluck and gather. Today, the younger generation has taken it upon themselves to revive this traditional sport and to bring it back to the Indian mainstream.
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