Friday, November 30, 2012
Chariot Racing that's no Ben Hur! Stunning photos show Bali
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Chariot Racing that's no Ben Hur! Stunning photos show Bali farmers racing their giant buffalo in annual competition
By Anna Edwards
03:13 GMT, 14 November 2012
04:43 GMT, 14 November 2012
With their ornate carriages and intricately-painted buffalo pulling these chariots through whirls of mist, this scene would not look out of place in ancient Greece.
But this gladiator-style competition is most certainly from the modern ages.
The annual Bali Buffalo Racing tradition is the culmination of months of painstaking work by Indonesian farmers, all preparing to race their chariots and earn the honour of first place.
Balinese men race the decorated buffaloes during the Makepung race, and can reach speeds of up to 30mph
Chariots of fire: The determination on this man's face is evident as he shriek at his buffalo to go faster as he tries to claim first place
Not you average race: The farmers use their giant livestock in an annual gladiator-style race, decorating the animals in elaborate headdresses
Competitors spend weeks meticulously decorating their majestic beasts before going head-to-head with other farmers from local villages in Bali, Indonesia.
These photographs were taken by Robertus Pudyanto, 41, at the twice-annual tradition - known as Makepung - which took place in Jembrana, Bali, Indonesia.
Robertus, from Surabaya, Indonesia, said 249 pairs of buffaloes took part in the latest season as more and more farmers vied to be crowned champion in the spectacle.
He said: 'The race originally started among farmers on their spare time during the harvest season and thanksgiving ritual after a successful harvest.
Competitors spend months carefully decorating their majestic beasts before going head-to-head with other farmers from local villages in Bali
Going for gold: The competitors are divided into two groups - the west use green flags and the east use red flags
Garlanded with flowers, bells and flags, the buffalo are made to drag the competitor around a route for the race
'The buffalos, chosen for their strength and appearance are decorated with silk banners and wooden bells and have painted horns. They are first paraded before a two kilometre race.'
Reaching speeds of up to 30mph these racing driver farmers have to handle their animals carefully in the race.
'The race is held twice a year between July and October and hundreds of buffalo take part,' Robertu said.
'They are divided into two groups, west and east. The two groups use different colour for flags and T-shirts. The west use green flags and the east use red flags.
Pulling their (and his) weight: The spectacle is a riot of colour and has become a firm fixture on the tourist agenda
A Balinese man prays for his buffalo before the start of the Makepung race, where villages proudly compete to take home first prize
'The pairs of buffalo from the two teams are released once every two minutes continually until all of the buffalo have raced.
'Both buffalo chariots race on the same track but start in different positions on one since the track is narrow.
'Because they start in a different position on the same line, they have their own finish position.'
'The winner is the pair of buffalo that get to its finish line first.'
The earliest fully developed poke-wheeled chariots were discovered in Russia and Kazakhstan, and date to around 2,000 BC.
Used all around the world, from Europe to China and India, they were used in battle, to transport the wealthy and important, and to race.
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