Kushti is the traditional game of Punjab which dates back to Mughal era in 15th to 18th century. The Mughals called it “warzish-e- Pehalwani” , the wrestling exercise.
They arranged contest of wrestling under their canopy. Ever since pehalwani or kushti has been the cultural heritage of Pakistan especially Punjab.
Punjab is the hot place for kushti where it is projected and patronized under the local bodies and the national authorities. In “melas” (the village Festivals),kushti is fascinating point for the Mela visitors. These village festivals are incomplete without kushti.
It is played generally on duel basis. One player from one party comes to the ground to combat the player of the other party. A duel fight is fought and the animal spirit wins by the end of the day. The victory is celebrated by the companions of the winner. Dhamal (a local dance) is the specific symbol of victory on such occasions. The winner is called “Rustam”, a term used for the hero.
Kushti is played in open grounds with mud and dust. These grounds are called akhada in the local language.
It is played not only in Pakistan but in Bungla Desh and India too. Pakistan also conducts contests of kushti with Bungla Desh and India.