One of the quirkiest yet exotic experiences tourists could enjoy while on a trip to India is by witnessing the famous Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly referred to as the India’s Rural Olympics.Running for eight decades now, the popular sports festival in the districts of Punjab is a fascinating sight to witness. This sporting event will take place in the very beginning of February 2014 and will last for 3 days.It is the time when the farming chores are put on the back burner and people gather to perform some of the craziest, insane and bizarre feat at Kila Raipur Village 15 kilometers from Ludhiana in Punjab.

Kila Raipur Sports Festival, India
Kila Raipur Sports Festival near Ludhina in Punjab is India’s most bizarre sports festival

Commonly referred as “India’s Rural Olympics”, the event welcomes thousands of sportsmen coming here to showcase their strength, valor and will to participate in some of the most gruesome and bizarre sport activities.

Caution: These sports events are not for the faint hearted!

The sports festival is witnessed every year by over 1 million viewers!

Let us find out more about the festival!

When is Kila Raipur Sports Festival organized?

Kila Raipur Sports Festival is organized every year in the month of February. The event runs for three days.
The event for 2014 is scheduled from 31st of January to 3rd of February

Who started this form of Rural Olympics in Kila Raipur?

The Rural Olympics were started in the year 1933 by philanthropist Inder Singh Grewal. He was struck by an idea to group together farmers from nearby Kila Raipur areas every year to match their physical strength and endurance.

This small idea led to the birth of Kila Raipur Sports Festival. The aim of the event was “healthy mind in a healthy body”.  The sports association decided for a watchword “excellence” which was to be achieved through participation in grueling sports events.

The association also believed that with the advent of such sports events, they could inspire young boys and girls and even veterans to come out of their households and showcase their talents and skills in traditional rural sports.

The festival, within a short span of eighty years has converted to one of the most vibrant and energetic experience for the youths. Over four thousand sportsmen and sportswomen from all around the world participate in this glorious international sports event.

Where is this Rural Olympic held in India?

At a distance of 15 km from the district of Ludhiana in the Indian state of Punjab, Kila Raipur Rural Olympics are held every year. The village is well connected by road, air and rail. One can come here by availing a flight from New Delhi which only takes approximately 40 minutes. Even the train journey from Delhi is a comfortable option as it takes only three-hours to reach the destination.

What kind of sports can be seen during the 3-day event at Kila Raipur?

The Indian Rural Olympics are basically designed to test one’s skill, strength, will-power and endurance!
The amazing sports that happen here can be believed only if you seen it! Various competitions are organized which involves animals including mules, dogs, camels, Bullocks, etc. All the professional sports activities in which sportsmen participate are a spectacle to watch.

The biggest crowd-puller is the adrenaline-pumping, trail blazing and eye-brow raising Bullock Cart Race. Throughout the races, one could hear the voice of “oooohhsss” and “aaaahhss” from the crowd! The winner of this race receives a large cash prize.

Bullock Cart Race, Rural Olympic, Punjab
Bullock Cart Race at Kila Raipur Sports Festival

Various other entertaining sporting events include tug-of-war, camel race, horse dance, tractor race, and dog race. The most captivating feature still is some of the most wacky activities that takes place here including using teeth to lift bicycles or bricks, dragging cars or tractors using teeth or ears, lying under a moving tractor, riding a bicycle with burnt wheels and various other ultra-classy stunts.

The newly started octogenarian race is another mega sport event here that showers the winning sportsmen with honor, respect and reverence.

A Bizarre Stunt, Rural Olympics at Kila Raipur
A Bizarre Stunt, Rural Olympics at Kila Raipur

What all happens here apart from sports activities?
The fun at Kila Raipur does not only stop at captivating sports activities. Various cultural performances are organized each day by the locals. People can be seen performing stunts on moving vehicles or playing with fire at every corner as the event goes on.

Horse Stunt, Kila Raipur Sports Festival
A participant exhibiting his riding skills at Kila Raipur Sports Festival

At night, exotic folk dancers present a special performance Gidha and Bhangra. The event goes on till at least till midnight on all the three days as the crowds get together to enjoy the festivity.

When is Kila Raipur Sports Festival 2014 scheduled for?

The 3-dev event is organized from 31st January to 2nd February. Hurry up and book your tours to Ludhiana, Punjab to be a part of the thrill and to click some bizarre yet awesome photos of this annual sporting event.!

Special mention: All images used in this post is courtesy Ritam Banerjee.

Contributed by Karan Saxena