Most of us have heard of bull fighting in Europe and in other parts of the world, but in Asia bull racing is the competitive sport that takes the spotlight. Although India and several other countries have regular bull races, the races in Indonesia are the most popular. The interesting part about the sport is the particular animal that is used for competing; it is the water buffalo, a generally passive creature. These animals are harnessed to a chariot and they run up to 2km on a stretch of beach or a road. The main races are held during the dry season in the months July, August, September and October. There are other races that are scheduled occasionally but they are mostly for tourists so the competitive spirit is less aggressive.
In Balinese tradition the races are called Mekepung, the kind of water buffalo that are used for the races are called Negara bulls among the locals. People are not exactly certain about the origins of the race, but there are some hints that suggest it is a celebration of the end-of-harvest season. The bull races are not actual individual races instead the competition is between two groups. Each group is made up of around ten to twenty pairs of bulls. The race begins with two pairs of bulls from opposing teams racing on a muddy track. It is hard to imagine that the water buffaloes actually race in a competition, but you will be surprised by the speed at which they run.
The bulls are attached to a chariot or cart and one person rides the bulls. The riders carry a small stick with which they will encourage the bulls to run faster. Bull racing is a cultural practice which signifies the vibrancy of Balinese society. The bulls are often accessorised with gold embellishments, strings of beads and shiny material.
If you want to catch some of the live action you need to head over to a bull racing track in Negara. One of the closest tourist destinations to Negara is Ubud so when it comes to accommodation an Ubud hotel is your best bet. Search for a luxury retreat Bali to find more about the places that are available. Uma Bali is a great choice for tourists as they offer spectacular rooms and amazing cuisine.
Nigel Walters is a travel writer, who writes under the pen name, Fritzjames Stephen. His content is based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life.Google+