A Guide To Kila Raipur Rural Olympics


A busy bus station with conductors shouting, people wandering around, tea being served, sounds like any other place of India, right? Well, the bus station I am talking about is in Ludhiana and the hardcore Punjabi language prevalent here is making me wonder if Honey Singh and Badshah taught enough. I think I’ll ask for a refund after this festival is over.

After asking around, I finally get on a bus to Dehlon. Where am I going, you ask? So Dehlon or how locals call Dhellon, is where you should be visiting to attend Kila Raipur Sports Festival.


So I reach Dehlon, take another bus blaring Punjabi songs in volume louder than human ear can ever comprehend, it drops me near the festival ground. I walk, enter the stadium. Punjabi is everywhere, people greet me, see my camera and tell me to go that way. ‘Tussi otthe jao’, (Go, that way) I realize that it is the entry gate for the journalists, I didn’t have a press pass, I enter anyway, my huge camera hides my identity. People are really naïve in small cities; a big camera makes you a big shot journalist. I wonder if it also increases chances of getting kidnapped.

100 meter sprint for senior citizens

Kila Raipur sports festival is a traditional sporting event in the state of Punjab. This festival is held annually in the month of February and invites different performers and athletes from of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. What makes Kila Raipur different than other sporting events is the fact that most of the events are really bizarre. The traditional sporting events include Kabaddi, Football, cycling and sprints.

Cycling 2

But then there is a point where things not only get out of the box but it actually shreds the box into pieces and toss it in a dumpster. Athletes compete with each other to get ahead in tyre lifting competition. There is a race of the hunter dogs from Punjab police and they’ll only listen to their handlers and no one else. Two teams compete to lift sacks of wheat and the winner is decided by counting which team was able to put how many sacks in the truck.

Specially abled man does a hand stand on a bottle

Kila Raipur was known for the bullock cart race which got banned when animal rights groups protested against it. The race is doesn’t exist anymore but you can still take a glimpse of horse cart and mule cart race. The animals are in the mood to compete as fiercely as their masters. It is said that entire village contributes in the training of that said animal because it is village that the team is representing and not the person.

tug-o-warWeight Lifting with Tires 2Weight Lifting with Tires


It was a fine change to be somewhere, where you won’t see hoardings of multinational brands sponsoring the event. Instead, I got to see a rural rustic side of Punjab that was unlike any other place I have ever been to. The kindness of the locals and an intimidating feeling around the big shot photographers was something that I haven’t felt ever in my life. But then, I returned home with some pretty nice shots. What do you think?



When: Kila Raipur Rural Olympics is held every year in the month of February

How to Reach: Ludhiana is the nearest city where you can stay. There are buses leaving for Dehlon every half an hour from ISBT. From Dehlon you can catch a tuktuk to sports venue.

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Leave a Reply

This Post Has 54 Comments

  1. Srijan Gopal

    Well the place seems interesting and perfect is the only word for your photography.

  2. Kone George

    I do not think such a massive sports meet is conducted anywhere in the world and Kila Raipur Sports Festival seems to be unique. Thanks for writing such an informative article. your images are amazing and catches the true spirit of rural sports.

    1. ansh997x

      I think there are a lot of places where such local sports are conducted. You just need to look around.

  3. Alexander Popkov

    Ok. I live in Finland and we have a lot of weird copetitions. Like throwing old mobile phones or carrying wifes or swimming in snow. But the photos from the post did surprise me 🙂 The tire carrying thing looks like fun.

    1. ansh997x

      I would love to visit your country to witness the spectacle myself.

  4. that’s awesome. So many interesting things take place around us. This one looks quite popular – the stands are crowded and there are photographers too.

    1. ansh997x

      Most of them are from local newspapers but people from town are coming here too.

  5. Joy Generoso

    I’m not really into sports or whatever but it’s interesting to learn that you have something like this in India.

  6. Denny George

    I’ve wanted to visit this event for the longest time now. The photographs do capture the spirit of the place very well!

  7. Indrani

    So interesting rural games.It is thrill to just see the still pics, I am imaging the excitement to watch in real. So sad the races got banned. Did the so called animal rights protectors get the sled dog race banned?

    1. ansh997x

      I think bulls are not made for running. I have seen racers twisting tails of the bulls to make them run faster. Although after the ban the festival got a little toned down.

  8. I bet those tire carriers are really great at getting all the grocery bags in the house in only one trip!

    1. ansh997x

      Hahah, that’s a funny thing to say.

  9. Sarah Bailey

    Oh my goodness how absolutely amazing would it have been to see this. Such a wonderful experience to get to see how other cultures do things.

  10. Your pictures are so completely amazing. I really would love to see the Kila Raipur games in person because I think there is so much talent and a lot of fun!

    1. ansh997x

      I hope you get to see it in person someday.

  11. Chris DePauw

    These pictures are phenomenal and your story is crazy. Sounds like a real experience and adventure. Props to you for doing this

  12. Erika Ramona

    Oooh Kila Raipur Sports Festival seems to be very interesting! I would be thrilled to see those bizarre sporting events, as you have mentioned.

  13. That sports festival looks fantastic. I didn’t anything so spectacular took place anywhere!

  14. Jay Colby

    The Rural Olympics sounds great. The pictures are great!!

  15. duffelbagspouse

    The pictures are amazing. What a creative way to encourage and celebrate sport.

  16. Megan Beaver

    Wow, your narration about being a journalist sounds a little scary. I’m glad everything worked out well. The photos turned out great.

  17. I have never heard of it. I would love to attend someday because it looks interesting

  18. Blair Villanueva

    I am curious to watch this sports festival coz the games are quite unique. Thanks for sharing us another destination!

    1. ansh997x

      I am sure there must be such unique things in your country, I would love to know about these rituals.

  19. kellyhutchinson37920

    What a fascinating post! I would love to see the Rural Olympics in person! The different events are so interesting!

    1. ansh997x

      You must and let me know if you need more information.

  20. Claudia Krusch

    What a great experience! Thank you for sharing it! Love your pictures!

    1. ansh997x

      Thanks a lot for your valuable comments.

  21. This sounds as though it was a fantastic experience. I am glad it ended up working out for the better and I LOVE the pictures that you got.

    1. ansh997x

      Thank a lot for your wonderful comment.

  22. Tatanisha Worthey

    Wow, that actually looks like a really awesome event. I would love to see some chariot races!

  23. lavandamichelle

    I never knew this! I have to open my eyes more. So many interesting things happen around the world! This event looks so cool, if I lived here I’d definitely be here snapping photos.

  24. rachael burow

    This looks like a really cool event to participate in! I loved all the photos…it really captured the fun in it!

    1. ansh997x

      Totally it is a great experience to be a part of

  25. toastycritic

    It’s so cool that they come up with so many unique and out of the box events. I mean football and cycling are nice, but I love how original they are with the competitions here.

    1. ansh997x

      It is fun to watch and experience these events.

  26. Bobbi

    I had no idea about these olympics! These events all look like they were so great to watch.

    1. ansh997x

      Of course. Let me know if you are planning to visit sometime.

  27. Cynthia Nicoletti

    So interesting to see how other countries take on events. Nice original events that we normally do not see.