78th Qila Raipur Sports Festival in Punjab state of India | By Karan K Gupta

For an Indian citizen residing outside his/her home-state gives an opportunity to learn and understand the culture and traditions of that particular part of country. Many of you reading this would agree to this fact.

For me, Punjab is a home away from Home for last 8 years now since 2006, when I joined ISF college in Moga to pursue my graduate degree. Never imagined that I would be spending 4 years of my life in a place I have never heard of. After completing my education and a brief stint at home, land of Punjab called me again, this time in Ludhiana. Since then life has been more enjoyable.

It gives me immense pleasure to take you through a Photo Journey on world famous Qila Raipur Rural Sports Event, which is conducted on yearly basis, and came into limelight after the famous Rang-De-Basanti title track featured few shots from the event. Of many different sports and cultural activities such as, horse riding, bullock carts making a run, 100m, 200 m sprints by participants from different age categories, I would be highlighting only on the ones I could witness during my 2 hour stay. 
I regret the poor image quality because of very cloudy weather on 3rd day of event.

When I was en-route Qila Raipur, I was hoping to witness some real action like Horse riding. Luckily the moment I reached, announcement for same was made and I was quite excited.

The event volunteers won’t let me let me in, but that’s when you play your trump card, I took out my Digicam and requested them to let me in as I had travelled all the way from Himachal. Permission was granted straight away.

Once into the main ground I observed that this particular event has a world renowned reputation as not only there were people with DSLR’s from different parts of India, but a few White people also seemed to enjoy the local sports fair.

The Horse Riders were Nihang Singhs, who are better known for their bravery and martial skills in the battlefield, and in erstwhile years they were part of specialized warriors. They can be well defined by the dark blue attire they wear and the Kirpan’s or swords they carry.

They put up a great show, and displayed their martial skills while riding super fast horses. 

The most fascinating part was One Rider riding two or three horses in one go.

Other events which I witnessed included a 200 meter sprint race by participants in age group of 65-75 years. Made me remember famous Punjabi song “Beh ke dekh jawaana babbe bhangra paunde ne.”

There were some extra-ordinary daring participants, one who lifted a heavy wooden ladder and also a metal equipment used to plough fields which easily weighed around 25 kgs, in his mouth.

Another participant was supposed to pull a Maruti Ritz car from his year, whose picture I couldn’t capture.

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