There’s blood on the ground when sticks rattle

A member of the Maneyapanda family watches the Cheriyapanda family slug it out with previous winners, Nellamakkada, in the inter-family hockey tournanment hosted by the Maneyapanda family in Ponnampet in south Coorg on Sunday.

The “Kodava Hockey Festival“, as the tournament is known, is one of the largest field hockey tournaments in the world if not the largest, drawing tens of Kodava families to showcase their skills with the stick each year, in a different location in coffee country.

Nearly 250 teams  and 3,500 players are taking part in this the 14th edition of the tournament, whose intensity often demonstrates that blood is a thick marker of identity, thicker than virtually everything, including probably even nation and state. The final is on May 9.

Also read: What a martial race does when there’s no war

View more pictures of the 2010 Cup: Coorg hockey