Mallakhamba, where malla means wrestler and kamba means a pole, is a traditional Indian sport, where athletes perform various types of gymnastics moves and hold various poses on a vertical wooden pole or a rope. The sport is practiced exclusively in India and especially in the state of Madhya Pradesh where it is declared as the sport of the state.
Mallakhamba was originally used as an exercise for wrestlers, and because of its appeal, it was soon adapted as a sport of its own. There are currently three main variations of mallakhamba based on the pole used, which are:
- Pole or Fixed : A vertical wooden pole which is fixed to the ground is used
- Hanging : A wooden pole, similar to that of a fixed pole is used, but it is shorter in length and is suspended using chains in a manner that the pole is hanging and does not touch the ground.
- Rope : using a rope which is suspended to the top and is hanging.
Regardless of the version, the sport tests athletes for strength, endurance and team work. An annual national level tournament is conducted for mallakhamba in which teams from all the states take part.
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