Malkhamb is an ancient Indian sport in which a performer does various feats and poses on a pole. The sum of these exercises and the pole used to perform these exercises- both are referred to as malkhamb. The performers usually wear a loin cloth and their bodies are slick with oil.
The word can be divided into two parts to understand its meaning- ‘’ Malla’’ means a wrestler and ‘’Khamb’’ means the pole. So in English, it can be broadly translated as ‘’Pole Gymnastics’’. Malakhamb has been recently declared as the state sport of Madhya Pradesh. Though its origin could be traced back to Maharashtra during the reign of Bajirao Peshwa the second. It is prevalent in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Originally, Malkhamb was not an individual sport, but was more of a supporting exercise for the wrestlers. It was the fitness trainer of Bajirao Peshwa, called Balambhattdada Deodhar who gave it its modern form. He realised that all the grips used in wrestling were not possible to be practised on the malkhamb therefore he introduced cane so that finer movements too could be captured. However non availability of cane led to the advent of rope malkhamb
In modern day, there are three types of malkhamb that are practised widely