The traditional sport known as mallakhamb, which dates back to ancient India, is vying for recognition in the modern sports world. The name "Mallakhamb" is a combination of the words "malla," which means wrestler, and "khamb," which means pole. The gymnast does aerial yoga poses using a rope, a cane, or a wooden mallakhamb pole. Yoga poses are traditionally performed using a wooden stick made of Sheesham or Indian Rosewood and smoothed with castor oil. In this article, we will take you through the various details of a mallakhamb game, including types of mallakhamb and mallakhamb exercises. So, keep reading!!


A style of Indian gymnastics performed on a vertical mallakhamb pole, mallakhamb or mallakhamba is an ancient Indian sport that first attracted the attention of the world at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Several indigenous Indian sports, including kabaddi, were displayed in Berlin before the start of the Olympics and received cheers from both the local population and visitors from across the world. Mallakhamb was one of these games.

Since then, the sport has gained popularity throughout the world, and the first-ever global championships in mallakhamb were conducted in 2019, with more than 150 participants travelling to Mumbai to compete.

However, the newfound fame doesn't properly capture mallakhamb's lengthy history.

What is Mallakhamb?

Mallakhamb may initially appear to be an aerial yoga or gymnastics exercise done on a vertical pillar (traditionally a Sheesham or Indian rosewood pole polished with castor oil).

But at its foundation, mallakhamb is a type of old martial arts used to teach ancient warriors and wrestlers.

Literally, "khamb" means pole, and "malla" implies wrestling. Mallakhamb refers to pole-based wrestling collectively. The pole was formerly a training tool used by wrestlers and soldiers to hone martial arts techniques they would later employ against rivals in the arena or on the battlefield.

What is the History and Origin of the Mallakhamb Game?

This ancient Indian sport dates back to the first half of the 12th century. The Manasholas, a text by Chalukya written in 1153 A.D., makes mention of wrestlers practising on wooden mallakhamb poles. Balambhatta Dada Deodhar, the physical trainer for Bajirao Peshwa II, brought it back in the latter part of the 19th century. He made enormous attempts to spread the word about this activity. The form of the Ancient and Modern Mallakhamb has striking similarities to the human skeleton. At initially, Mallakhamb was always focused on learning new Kusti techniques. Gymnastics are now included in the game. It is releasing long-gone holds. The current game requires a flexible body, attentive muscles and mind, focus and muscle expansion, rhythmic breathing, wide-open eyes, etc. At the elite level now, the degree of difficulty is getting harder and harder. The requirement for safety equipment is apparent.

What are the Types of Mallakhamb?

In general, there are three types of mallakhamb as mentioned below:-

  • POLE MALLAKHAMB - Although this style of Mallakhamb is similar to Pole Mallakhamb, it employs a picket pole that is shorter than the latter. The other variations of this game are the unjustified Mallakhamb and stuck Bottle Mallakhamb. The mallakhamb pole is decorated with hooks and a series, leaving a place between the bottom and also the bottom of the Mallakhamb. There have been other versions recently, including Inclined and Suspended Mallakhamb. Mallakhamb workouts help to create a lean, muscular body. The abdominal, back, arms, and thighs can benefit the most from these exercises, which are also good for developing strength in a wide variety of other activities and sports, including gymnastics and wrestling. The Pole Mallakhamb sport is the only activity in which all of the body's organs, both large and little, are active and have the greatest impact on the spinal cord. It also increases energy and lifespan.
  • HANGING MALLAKHAMB - It is suspended with the aid of hooks and chains and is a scaled-down version of the fixed Mallakhamb. The workouts are quite demanding and difficult because of the Mallakhamb's swinging and rotating action. In this, a picket post positioned vertically is buried. The wood used is commonly wood or Sheesham, which is most favoured for its hardness and smoothness dual qualities. The mallakhamb pole rises 225 cm above the surface of the ground. Its circumference is 45 cm in the centre, 30 cm at the top, and 55 cm at the bottom end. 20 cm is the height of the neck, 15 cm is its circumference, and 13 cm is the radius of the upper knobe.
  • CANE/ROPE MALLAKHAMB - In rope mallakhamb, the person works out while hanging from a rope that is strung from the tallest support. The rope is typically 1 to 2 millimetres (0.39 to 0.79 in) in diameter and 5.5 metres (18 ft) in length. The performer grabs the rope with one or both hands and places it in the space between the big toe and the second toe. The performer ascends on the rope and then, in a series of motions, ties the rope around his or her torso. The performer then assumes a variety of Udi ("to fly") poses, some of which mimic a human's natural posture. Due to the scarcity of high-quality cane, cotton ropes are now used to conduct the traditional cane-based rope mallakhamb. The performers must carry out a variety of activities without in any way knotting the rope. The picket post is replaced in this instance by a cotton rope that is 2.5 cm thick. The performers must hold a variety of yogic positions without in any way tying the rope. The rope mallakhamb is balanced on top of 32 glass bottles that have been arranged on a wooden platform in this contemporary invention.


The audience is mesmerised by the way the body is rotated, stretched, and balanced on the Mallakhamb. Playing on the Mallakhamb improves one's coordination, reflexes, quickness, and focus. The practice of many other sports, including wrestling, judo, gymnastics, athletics, horseback riding, tennis, etc., is aided by the training of mallakhamb.

  • The wrestlers' throws will improve by using the "Shoulder Vault" on the Mallakhamb. The Mallakhamb is where the majority of wrestlers shadow practise. The majority of the workouts in Mallakhamb are designed with wrestling in mind. A gymnast's shoulder girdle will get stronger through practising Mallakhamb for Roman Ring. Additionally, Mallakhamb aids in the development of skills like flexibility, elegance, quickness, and rhythm, all of which are crucial for a good gymnast.
  • Athletics coach Mallakhamb helps athletes develop the endurance, strength, and stamina necessary for competition.
  • The muscles in the shoulder girdle and forearm will become stronger thanks to the ladder on the Mallakhamb. It also makes the wrist joint more flexible.
  • A cricketer will learn to dive from a side diving catch on the Mallakhamb, while a football or hockey goalkeeper will learn how to save a goal.
  • Getting off of a Mallakhamb helps a diver learn how to dive.
  • Because the grasp is the same in all situations, the fundamental grip is highly helpful for horse riders. The Mallakhamb's horse mount is identical to the real horse mount.

Mallakhamb Rules

Mallakhamb has straightforward principles that are reminiscent of gymnastics.

Participants must perform acrobatic tricks using a vertical pole or rope as a prop, and judges award points based on how well they executed the moves.

Five different categories are used to judge competitors: mounting (where athletes jump on and run on the pole), acrobatics (where athletes perform flips, turns, and twists on the pole), catches (where athletes catch the pole after flying through the air), balances (where athletes demonstrate their balance on the pole), and dismounts (where performers jump off gracefully from the top of the pole).

Each participant is given a score by the judges during a performance, and the one with the highest score has crowned the champion.


Exercises like the mallakhamb make the body lean and powerful. These exercises have been discovered to be helpful to attain efficiency in several different activities and sports including gymnastics and wrestling. They are especially effective for the stomach, back, arms, and thighs. The spinal cord is most significantly impacted by the Mallakhamb sport, which also promotes lifespan and activation of all the body's large and minor organs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of Mallakhamb?

Ancient Indian epics, including the Ramayana, Chandraketugarh pottery from the second to first century BCE, and records of Buddhist Chinese pilgrims to India all make mention of mallakhamb in some form.

Who started Mallakhamb?

The first direct reference to mallakhamb in literature is found in the early 12th-century work Manasollasa, which was written by the Chalukya ruler Someshvara III, who reigned in what is now South India at the time.

Who is the father of Mallakhamb?

Mr Ulagadurai, a PT instructor in the Villupuram area, first brought Mallakhamb to Tamil Nadu in 1961. As a result, he is referred to throughout Tamil Nadu as the "Father of Mallakhamb". He worked with children from the ages of 6 to 18 while providing free instruction for 40 years in various government schools.

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