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Losing heritage? How modern gymnasiums are killing the Akharas of Banaras

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By Rituparna Chakraborty

The traditional akharas (traditional Indian gyms) in Varanasi in India are fading into oblivion. Earlier the city which had one or two hundred akharas has lost its ground to the modern gymnasiums and the situation is so bad that now only 15-16 akharas are in working condition.

The akharas which once were a pride of Varanasi’s tradition and heritage, are losing to gyms because the modern training routines are less rigorous and consume little time.

Gyassuddin who works as a physical trainer at a local gym says that working out in an akhara is very time consuming and requires a disciplined routine, which the youth find a little out dated.

The Akhara Culture

In the earlier days people joined akharas to practice wrestling activities which was then a source entertainment.

The central feature of every akhara is a twelve-to-fifteen meter square earthen pit which is usually covered with a cement pavilion. The pit is surrounded by an expanse of packed earth which consists of turmeric (haldi), alkali (phitkari) and many other ayurvedic herbs.

The equipments like gada, dumble etc used in akaharas are much heavier than the machines available at the gyms.

The akharas provide natural environment to the wrestlers and the workouts are carried out under the open sky and in fresh air. Before starting the daily exercise they offer prayer to lord Hanuman. The akhara is an aesthetic cum moral space.

Why akharas are losing to gyms?

The gyms have proper trainers who are qualified and have proper knowledge of diet and exercises. Also, they have well trained staff who customize work-out routines for the clients.

According to health expert Dr. Ravindu, who practises in  Varanasi, the exercises carried out at gyms are safer as there is proper guidance by the trainers, whereas the akharas lag in this. He also stated that the pahalwans are more prone to injuries due to this reason.

 

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Ideas to Spice up Workout Wear

Huffingtonpost.com gives more options to jazz up your workout wardrobe:

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Ideas to Spice up Workout Wear
Ideas to Spice up Workout Wear. Pixabay

Sweating out at a gym shouldn’t prevent you from looking chic. Ditch the T-shirts in dull colours and make way for bright ones. You can also try different sizes of tops.

Huffingtonpost.com gives more options to jazz up your workout wardrobe:

* It is the perfect time to wear short shorts.

* Jazz up your look with a bright headband.

* Try the crop top trend if you haven’t.

You May Also Like: Memorise Gym Etiquettes Before You Enter

* Wear bright coloured tops.

* Don’t be afraid to match your pants to your sneakers.

* When in doubt, wear black as it looks classic and also makes you look slimmer. (Bollywood Country)

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