VISAKHAPATNAM: The traditional bullock cart race events have turned into tourist attractions in the rural pockets in Andhra Pradesh during the festival of Sankranti.
Like Moi Chara (bull race), a centuries old tradition in the villages of the South 24 Parganas in West Bengal during the monsoon, Yedla Bandi Pandalu (bullock cart race) in the rural pockets of Andhra Pradesh during the Sankranti and local deity festivals (January to March) still popular.


A few days before the Sankranti festival, the bullock cart races commenced in a few parts of Anakapalle and Vizianagaram districts. The organizers of the events said that Bullock Cart Races will commence in parts of East Godavari, West Godavari, Nellore, Krishna, Guntur and a few other districts on the first day of (Bhogi) the Sankranti festival and continue till February.
The recent bullock cart race at Chukkapalli village under Cheedikada Mandal in Anakapalle district drew huge crowds from all surrounding areas as well as some youngsters from Vizag city.
Two bulls are first attached to a wooden cart, that is how the race gets its name. Each cart is controlled by two trainers and each cart must cover the stipulated distance of 2 to 3km with in some time. The organizers of the event will decide the winners which covers the distance within a few minutes or less time than other carts.
For us, bullock cart races are a prestigious issue. Though the prize money for the race is low (Rs 20,000 and sometimes Rs 1 lakh), we always try to win in the race, said Gandi Venkata Rao from Vepada in Vizianagaram district and Majji Devanand from Chukkapalli village in Anakapalle district. Both Venkata Rao and Devanand won many races in parts of the state and they give at most care for their bullocks (each pair cost over Rs 14 lakh)
The organizers said that the bullock cart races will be held in the picturesque rural landscape. To avoid overburdening and harm to the participating bullocks, we have been taking special measures. As per the norms, the cart drivers have been asked not to whip the animals and not resort to any other harsh means. Violation of rules leads to penalty points and disqualification from the race, said Koilada Mohan Rao from KJ Puram village under V Madugula Mandal in Anakapalle district.

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