KALI BAARI AKHARA                                 COBRA FESTIVAL

 

Kali Baari Akhara is located in theholy Hindu city of Varanasi. Every year during the  sweltering heat of the summer months, the Nag Panchemi or Cobra festival is held throughout India. The festival is dedicated to the worship of serpents and the legends associated with them in Hindu religious lore. It is also the time for the Kushti wrestlers and Pahlavan to display their strength and skill to those that normally would eschew such pass times.

Competitions are held in wrestling and the lifting of weights and any one may participate. On the Nag Panchemi everyone is considered a wrestler or Pahlavan.

Large crowds gather to witness the events at Akharas similar to many places around the world. Respect for strength and wrestling prowess is a near universal characteristic of many cultures.  Much like in India these are relatively small scale affairs which continue ancient traditions passed through the millennia. The importance of maintaining these traditions cannot be stressed. They are a link to our past and the concepts of what makes a man a man(or indeed a woman a woman).