Devlachi Taleem, Pune’s own wrestling akhada | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Devlachi Taleem, Pune’s own wrestling akhada

The Taleem was in limelight when legendary wrestler Hiraman Bankar became the first Pune wrestler to claim the prestigious Maharashtra Kesari title in 1976.

pune Updated: Jul 11, 2017 14:18 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Devlachi Taleem prepare young wrestlers for the big moment by giving them the experience of performing with an audience on hand.
Devlachi Taleem prepare young wrestlers for the big moment by giving them the experience of performing with an audience on hand.(Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)

Pune is known for its rich, age-old tradition of Taleem culture just like Kolhapur. Although, this traditional form of exercising and body-building is now being bypassed in favour of modern, trendy gym and fitness culture, these Taleems still exist in old areas of Pune city.

One of them is Devlachi Taleem at Mahatma Phule Peth, adjacent to Shankarshet road. It still enjoys a hallowed reputation as the breeding ground for top-notch wrestlers and consequently, still draws young wrestlers from the villages and districts of Maharashtra. The Taleem’s wastad Ganpat Ambekar is currently grooming no less than 50 young wrestlers.

It is claimed that Devlachi Taleem was started by Ramdas Swami, who was no less than the guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Taleem was in limelight when legendary wrestler Hiraman Bankar became the first Pune wrestler to claim the prestigious Maharashtra Kesari title in 1976.

Bankar is also known for his headline-grabbing performances at popular wrestling events like Rustam-e-Bharat and Mahan Bharat Kesari. He had defeated top wrestlers like Jagdish Mittar, Vijay Kumar, Kartar Singh, Jharkhandrai, Anandrai and Pannelal Yadav. Many old wrestling enthusiasts still remember the historic bout between Bankar and Damodar Mandle of Solapur, in which Bankar emerged victorious and a huge procession was arranged in his honour.

Post his feats in the wrestling akhada, Bankar took up coaching and as a wastad groomed a number of prize-winning wrestlers who brought more glory to the Devlachi Taleem.

Today, the wastads in Devlachi Taleem also lay a lot of emphasis on a wrestler’s mental preparation. They prepare young wrestlers for the big moment by giving them the experience of performing with an audience on hand.

Devlachi Taleem

What: A place where Taleem, a traditional form of exercising and body building, is practiced

Where: Mahatma Phule Peth, adjacent to Shankarshet Road

When: Open on all days