Bull Surfing in Kerala – Palakkad, India - Atlas Obscura
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Bull Surfing in Kerala

Palakkad, India

Bold contestants slide in a rice paddy behind two charging bulls. 


In perhaps the dirtiest form of rodeo known to man, bull surfing in Kerala, India entails chasing down two charging bulls, grabbing on and sliding at full speed through a rice paddy.

Each August, the rural Pathanamthitta villages of Southern India come alive with a festival dedicated to the harvest known as Maramadi. After the harvest concludes, yoked bulls are sent charging down a football field-sized rice paddy soaked in a 1/2 foot of water.

These crazed bulls are then chased down and surfed around the paddy by brave, half-naked participants in a kind of rugged chariot race with much more dirt. Most participants begin by holding onto the rope attached to the bulls, and move to hang onto the tail when their surfing begins.

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