Old Delhi 'Kabutarbaz' gear up for big tournament on 2024 Republic Day; experts training over 2,000 pigeons

Old Delhi 'Kabutarbaz' gear up for big tournament on 2024 Republic Day; experts training over 2,000 pigeons

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) More than 2,000 pigeons of different species have been procured by Old Delhi's pigeon-flyers (Kabutarbaz) from across the country, in the run up to a grand Kabutarbazi tournament to be held on the occasion of Republic Day and other events next year.

Kabutarbazi is a traditional local sport since Mughal times in Delhi, that is still popular in parts of the city especially areas like Jama Masjid, Chandani Chowk and Matia Mahal in Old city.

The Kabutarbaz's skill of controlling the flocks of pigeons is tested, sport expert Abid said, adding that different games have different sets of rules to evaluate the winner.

'A number of locally popular species of the pigeons such as 'Sabjpari' (red coloured) from Agra, Patiyala from Punjab,Hyderabadi from Hyderabad were brought to Delhi by the Kabutarbaz months in advance to prepare for the tournament,' he said.

Every year on big occasions such as Republic Day, Independence Day and festivals like Eid, tournaments are organised, where passionate pigeon flyers showcase their skills and technique to achieve higher ranks, said Danish Illahi.

Illahi was a khalifa (successor) till the start of this month but on the evening of November 3, he was awarded with the title of 'Ustad' (master) -- the highest rank among the pigeon flyers -- in the event of 'Jashne Tajposhi'.

He said, 'This year, we have got the largest flock from Agra, Hyderabad, Ajmer and Punjab and their training has also been started'.

Most of the avid pigeon flyers in Old Delhi said they were introduced to 'Kabootarbazi' since childhood.

'My love for this sport started from childhood days as it is my forefathers' legacy that I wish to pass on to my children,' Ilahi said.

Apart from the special occasions like festivals, the players are always open for the challenges, some of the popular competitions are 'Kushti'(wrestling) and 'Daud' (race), said another Old Delhi Kabutarbaz (pigeon enthusiast) Salam.

'In 'Kushti', the competitor picks up the most loyal flock which are directed to fly towards the sky by both the parties. The two flocks meet and merge in the midair, then the owners command them to fall back, one who gets more pigeons back on his terrace wins the game.' said Ayaz, another khalifa.

''Daud' is also popular among many ustads. One of the fastest pigeons among the flock is picked for this game, by both the competitors. The pigeon which comes back first wins the race. The direction, track and distance are also considered for the evaluation of the winner,' Ayaz added.

The 'ustads' usually keep caretakers for upkeep of their pigeons. The caretakers are responsible for ensuring well-being of the flock by providing the pigeons proper diet and keeping any eye on their health.

''khaan-paan'(diet) for different species differ. Each 'ustad' has a secret 'khan-paan' chart that he only shares with his descendent showing eagerness to continue with his 'Kabutabazi' passion,' said Salman, a caretaker. PTI COR VIT CK CK

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated feed.

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