The Bullock Cart
What image comes to mind while thinking about ‘India’? The Taj Mahal? Crowds bathing in the mystic water of the Ganges? Your local curry restaurant? For us, it’s the bullock wagon.
As we hope you will soon find out, bull-drawn wagons get everywhere – and not just in rural areas, but in all the cities as well. Any veterans of the Rickshaw Challenge series will tell you that it’s normal to find yourself waiting in your autorickshaw at traffic lights while getting cheek-to-cheek with a pair of bulls pulling a load of fresh produce. There are some 15 million bull wagons in India – more than the population of Belgium.
In many ways they are the symbosl of a time gone by, when traveling was as much a part of the experience as getting there. Not that Indians don’t find a way to turbo-charge everything. There are whole festivals where people race wildly decorated and stripped down sporting bullock carts. You get to enjoy the best of both: all the fun and pageantry of the festivals, without the break-neck dash.
In essence, a bullock cart is a four-wheeled vehicle pulled by ‘draught cattle’, with whom you be on a first-name basis with. Used since ancient times, the cart is attached to a bullock team by a special chain attached to yokes, but a rope may also be used for one or two animals. The driver (that’s you) and any other passengers (up to three team-mates) sit on the front of the cart, while the load is placed in the back. Traditionally cargo would be things like any kind of product and lumber; however in this case cargo area will be reserved for your own personal recreation.
Just like the bulls themselves, the carts will all be sourced from local farmers – just one of the ways you will help support local communities while having a truly great time on the Bullathon.
Participating will certainly be a learning experience, but we do not expect you to be a full-blown cattle drover or cowboy. Just as our team of veterinarians will be monitoring the bulls, we will have experienced farmers and owners at close hand to show you how to handle all the equipment and harnesses in the way that’s safe and easy for you and your animals.
A safe and comfortable adventure for you and your animals is the very best way to have a fantastic fun experience with your bullock cart… but a few outstanding accessories certainly would never hurt! Participating teams are encouraged to ‘Pimp Out’ their wagon, and add everything from bucket racing seats to under-lighting neon, disco balls, sound systems, lounge equipment, you name it. You can even give your bulls a makeover in a modern reimagining of the Gopastami tradition of painting sacred cows. You might be looking sporty, but how about giving your bovine buddies some snazzy tiger stripes too?