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Manasollas

This typically Maharashtrian form of outdoor exercise first finds a mention in a 12th-century volume named ‘Manasollas’ written by Chalukyan king Someshwara. To make their bodies agile despite being muscular, the wrestlers or Malla-s devised a method to tune the body by exercising on a wooden pole or a Khamb as known in Marathi. During the rule of Bajirao II, in the late 18th century, his trainer Balambhatdada Deodhar revived the art of Mallakhamb to make the bodies of the wrestlers stronger, quicker, flexible besides adding stamina.


This typically Maharashtrian form of outdoor exercise first finds a mention in a 12th-century volume named ‘Manasollas’ written by Chalukyan king Someshwara. To make their bodies agile despite being muscular, the wrestlers or Malla-s devised a method to tune the body by exercising on a wooden pole or a Khamb as known in Marathi. During the rule of Bajirao II, in the late 18th century, his trainer Balambhatdada Deodhar revived the art of Mallakhamb to make the bodies of the wrestlers stronger, quicker, flexible besides adding stamina.
There are different shapes and sizes of this apparatus. Usually, it is two to two and a half meters tall, tapering to the tip and made up of either Sheesham or teak wood. The pole has three parts, the Anga (body), Maan (neck), and Bond (tip). The body is the tapered part, the circumference of which is around 55-6o cm, at the base and 25-30 cm, at the neck. The neck is not tapered and is a straight piece with a circumference of about 15-20 cm, and 15-20 cm, high. The tip is a rounded ball with a circumference of 10-15 cm, and is 5-7 cm high.
The height of the Mallakhamb, as has been stated earlier, is two to two and a half meters above the ground and is around one to one and a half meters below the ground, to make it super stable. For it to remain smooth and for a better grip, impure castor oil and resins are used on the Mallakhamb. There are around 16 types of exercises in Mallakhamb and many sub-types in each of them. 
Mallakhamb is popular in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu besides Maharashtra. This sports form is in most of the urban centres in Maharashtra. Many of the gymnasiums at these places, organise competitions on local as well as state levels. 
Mallakhamb was introduced to the outside world during the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Proper practise in addition to the study and research of this sports form is currently going on in the Colone University in Germany. The 9th Asian Games, held at New Delhi in 1982, also saw the Maharashtriya Mandal from Pune displaying their skills on Mallakhamb.

Districts/Region

Maharashtra, India.

Cultural Significance

This typically Maharashtrian form of outdoor exercise first finds a mention in a 12th-century volume named ‘Manasollas’ written by Chalukyan king Someshwara.


Images