Photos: A day at India’s travelling Asiad Circus

One of India’s few surviving large travelling circuses, the Asiad Circus, while holding three shows daily in east Delhi, is struggling to hold ground as profits are nowhere to be seen. Most Indians grew up going to the circus, and while this still remains a fascinating family outing for many, viewership has steadily declined over the years.

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST 10 Photos
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Two clowns share a light moment at the Asiad Circus, while on tour in east Delhi. One of the most popular acts in the circus, clowns, ironically, find little acceptance in the world outside a circus. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

Two clowns share a light moment at the Asiad Circus, while on tour in east Delhi. One of the most popular acts in the circus, clowns, ironically, find little acceptance in the world outside a circus. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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Parked on the DDA ground in east Delhi’s Shastri Park, the Asiad Circus is drawing good crowds but the cost of running a circus daily is much beyond what the circus earns. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

Parked on the DDA ground in east Delhi’s Shastri Park, the Asiad Circus is drawing good crowds but the cost of running a circus daily is much beyond what the circus earns. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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Women perform balancing acts on bicycles as part of Asiad Circus’ lineup of acts. Many believe that the Indian circus has failed to reinvent itself, depending on the age-old trapeze, juggling and gymnastics performances. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

Women perform balancing acts on bicycles as part of Asiad Circus’ lineup of acts. Many believe that the Indian circus has failed to reinvent itself, depending on the age-old trapeze, juggling and gymnastics performances. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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While the Indian government has come down on circuses heavily because of their use of wild animals, especially in the 1998 ban, certain birds and animals still continue to be part of circuses. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

While the Indian government has come down on circuses heavily because of their use of wild animals, especially in the 1998 ban, certain birds and animals still continue to be part of circuses. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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During the last decade, the number of Indian artistes working in a circus has seen a constant decline -- now 50 per cent of the artistes in circuses are foreigners. Performers from Kenya especially find working in India more financially lucrative than in their own country. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

During the last decade, the number of Indian artistes working in a circus has seen a constant decline -- now 50 per cent of the artistes in circuses are foreigners. Performers from Kenya especially find working in India more financially lucrative than in their own country. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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‘We earn about Rs 25,000 a month here, which was not possible in our country,’ says Davis Mwakalu Nyale of Kenya, a gymnast at the Asiad Circus. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

‘We earn about Rs 25,000 a month here, which was not possible in our country,’ says Davis Mwakalu Nyale of Kenya, a gymnast at the Asiad Circus. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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Even though families flock to circuses whenever one is in town, there are only about 200 people listlessly watching an evening show at the Asiad Circus, though the circus has a seating capacity of 2000. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

Even though families flock to circuses whenever one is in town, there are only about 200 people listlessly watching an evening show at the Asiad Circus, though the circus has a seating capacity of 2000. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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Over the years, Indian circuses have relied on the human spectacle as their main performances and this has led to a decline in the number of people attending shows on a daily basis. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

Over the years, Indian circuses have relied on the human spectacle as their main performances and this has led to a decline in the number of people attending shows on a daily basis. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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Subhash, an artist from Bengal at the Asiad Circus claims to have taken a lot of risks in his lifetime while at work. ‘ I just want that the government should provide us subsidies so that we can make some profit from our performances,’ he says. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

Subhash, an artist from Bengal at the Asiad Circus claims to have taken a lot of risks in his lifetime while at work. ‘ I just want that the government should provide us subsidies so that we can make some profit from our performances,’ he says. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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The Asiad Circus is one of the few circuses from North India that has held its own against Kerala’s strong businesses. However, it is struggling to stay afloat and unless it reinvents the wheel, the road is uphill and with its own risks. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

The Asiad Circus is one of the few circuses from North India that has held its own against Kerala’s strong businesses. However, it is struggling to stay afloat and unless it reinvents the wheel, the road is uphill and with its own risks. (Sanchit Khanna / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2017 03:53 PM IST
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