Monday, March 4, 2024

Krishna, NTR, Godavari districts gear up for Sankranti celebrations

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Krishna, NTR, and Godavari districts anticipate a lively atmosphere as they gear up for the upcoming three-day Sankranthi festival, featuring cockfights as a major attraction. Organisers have set up numerous arenas at mango gardens to host these traditional but controversial blood sports.
In preparation for the festival, cockfight enthusiasts in many villages across Krishna and
NTR districts are eagerly anticipating the events. Despite the ban on cockfighting, relevant
authorities have yet to take substantial action to curb illegal activities, including gambling
associated with these matches.
The Sankranti festival, known for celebrating the harvest season, is closely associated with
the tradition of cockfights. Residents of Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, and other districts in
Andhra Pradesh eagerly await the festivities. Participants in cockfights traditionally invest
significant sums in betting, adding an element of enthusiasm to the games.
As households adorn their main doors and gates with green mango leaves, women engage in preparing sumptuous meals, and children don new ethnic attire in line with tradition. Alongside the popular decorated bullocks, Gangireddu, large crowds are expected to gather in makeshift tents at open spaces and grounds to witness the events.
Organisers have made elaborate arrangements for spectators and gamblers at various cockfight arenas in both Krishna and NTR districts. Villages suchas Ampapuram, Edupugallu, Punadipadu, and others are all set to kick off the cockfights onJanuary 14. Special galleries and seating arrangements have been provided to accommodate the audience.
Against the backdrop of 2024 being an election year, the ruling YSRCP leaders are reportedly supporting their cadre and other cockfight organisers in conducting the bloodsport.
They have managed to mitigate police objections, allowing the events to proceed without interference. While both district administrations and police have issued customary instructions against cockfights, no stringent actions have been taken to halt the arrangements.
Participants in the cockfights adhere to the age-old tradition of Kukkuta Sastra, which outlines the rituals and preparations for the matches, including health precautions. Months in advance, they provide training, nutritious food, and veterinary care, following a meticulous process to prepare their birds for the big fights.
Beyond the cockfights, organizers are also gearing up for various gambling activities such as ‘Playing Cards’ and ‘Gundata’ during the three-day festival. Gamblers have already
arrived in villages across Krishna and NTR districts, establishing agreements with cockfight organisers to set up their gambling games. The events are expected to involve significant sums of money, providing entertainment to those in attendance as the lively crowds cheer on the competing cocks.

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