Palakkad: Onathallu or friendly thrashing with bare hands is a traditional wrestling often staged as part of the Onam festivities in the state. But how many of us know about the origin of this exotic wrestling sport of Kerala?

Onathallu also known as Avittathallu and Kayyamkali evolved in Pallassana, a hamlet in Palakkad. Legend has it that villagers of Pallassana waged a battle against chieftain Kuthiravattathu Nair for killing their local chieftain Pallasana Kuroor Nampidi by treachery. These chieftains were under the rule of Zamorin of Calicut.

The long-drawn out fight ended after the Zamorin’s intervention. The Onathallu is staged in memory of this battle against treachery and hunger for power.

There will be two teams for Onathallu. A circle in 14 meter-diameter known as Attakkalam will be drawn in the middle. One person from either team challenge the other team and enter the Attakkalam. Another person from the opposite team will also enter the field at this time and then the game starts.

The rule states that the game cannot be stopped until either of the team wins. Whoever breaks the rule, will be thrown out of the game by the referee.