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Ox fighting in Betrawati (with video)
Purna Bahadur Dangol, 59, a local from Betrawati-10 has participated in ox fighting competition for several years. His ox named ‘Lale’ (red) won four battles in the competition. However, this year Lale disappointed Dangol. Ageing Lale was defeated on Tuesday’s fight.
“Lale won the four times in this competition. But he is too old—around 10 years old and sadly compete,” said Dangol. He added, “So this year, I bring in ‘Kaley’—a 5 year-old ox in the competition. But, he also disappointed.”
Ox fighting is garnering quick popularity in recent years. On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, thousands of people keenly observed the ox fighting at the lap of historical and sacred place—Betrawati.
Nine pairs of ox competed this year, according to Shiva Laminchhane, local tourism activist. “Ox fighting was introduced to mark the celebration of Betrawati treaty back in 1849. During the war between Nepal and China (then Tibet), many people from both the countries lost their lives. After a treaty, ox fighting was observed in the memory of people who lost their lives,’’ said Lamichhane.
“Oxen are used to plough the fields during the harvesting period. As soon as the harvesting season is over by the month of Magh, the oxen tend to have a leisure time. Therefore, the fighting has been carried out especially by the locals to utilize their roles as a source of entrainment on Maghe Sankranti,” he added.
Photos: Bijaya Rai/Republica