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A 360° View of India’s Gravity-Defying Pole Wrestlers

Get up close and personal with the athletes of the reemerging ancient pastime of mallakamb, in Narratively’s first 360 film.

Story by Felix Gaedtke & Gayatri Parameswaran | July 13, 2017

Twenty-three-year-old Pranjal Rewankar is one of dozens of young adults who come together every evening in the suburbs of Mumbai, India, to practice an ancient Indian sport: mallakhamb. They hang, climb and perform impressive acrobatic feats on poles and ropes.

“Malla” means wrestler and “khamb” is a pole. First mentioned in ancient Indian texts in the 12th century, as the name suggests mallakhamb was originally a method for wrestlers to develop their skills. Today, it’s a sport of its own. In recent years it has found popularity after being featured on reality talent shows, and now counts enthusiasts as far afield as Munich, Germany and Edison, New Jersey. Devotees even dream that one day mallakhamb will be featured in the Olympics.

How to Watch This 360° Video: Navigate with your cursor or move your phone around to view from different angles. For the best viewing experience, watch using Google Cardboard or another VR device.

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