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A wrestler, in deep thought, watches from across the glass.

(Photo: Danish Qazi/The Quint)

In Photos: The Delhi Akhara That Churns Out Musclemen

The wrestler often represents the “tough guy” in society. Look through the lens to see what drives them.

3 min read

Guru Hanuman Akhara is the oldest surviving wrestling school of India. It was established in 1925 and is the breeding ground for top Indian wrestlers in the thousand-year-old Indian wrestling tradition called Kushti/Pehelwani. It is located at Shakti Nagar near Roshanara bagh in New Delhi.

The whole scenario and ambiance of the place reminds one of Roland Barthes cultural critique of wrestling as not a sport but a spectacle, based on the ideas of excessive display of emotions, grandiloquence and playing before public the already-held ideas of justice; paying.

The wrestlers at the Akhara have an unshakable belief that the land is blessed. So much that even when the government offered to provide larger land with better training facilities, most of the wrestlers refused to shift out of the dilapidated buildings. However, due to lack of space, a modern gymnasium was built by the government at some distance from the Akhara which is used by the trainees. The Akhara is named after Guru Hanuman and currently trains about 200 wrestlers under the guidance of Maha Singh Rao.

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