Sri Lanka Sports


AN KELIYA (Hook Tugging)

An keliya, hook tugging, is a purely religious game for invoking the aid of the goddess Pattini during epidemics. The udu pila and yati pila teams meet at the Angpitiya or tugging field which has a strong tree , the angha groving in it. A rectangular pit is dug within 1 1/2 yards of this tree and lined with planks and in it is placed bottom upwards the smoothened bulbous base of a coconut palm with a hole bred through it for passing a tuggling rope.This is the Hena Kanda or vali gaha and the pit is Sufficiently long to permit it to swing back and forth.

The two hooks or Ang(horns) either made from the heartwood of some storng timber such as iron wood. or tamarind or from the base with brow tine of a sambhur antler are then brought by their respective teams. Each hook has a cross bar attached to its handle. A strong ring of liane termed the peraha is fixed to the base of the Angha and another to the base of the Hena kanda. A circle of rope is next taken and one end of it looped and passed between the Hena kanda and the perha ring.
A transverse bar Ang mola, is next passed through the lover end of the loop to prevent it from being pulled out of the liana ring and the transverse bar at the handdle of the udu pila team,s hook is similarly attached to the ring up on the angha. Eventully both hooks are interlocked and a man sometimes stands astride of them with a foot on each rope circle to prevent the hooks from disengaging during the play of the hena kanda as it swings back and forth during the tugging imparting a series of shattering jerks to the interlocked hooks.

Both teams tug vigorously in the same direction upon a rope inserted through the hole drilled in the hena Kanda. The tugging is stopped at intervals and the hooks inspected for signs of damage. Directly such are detected the damege hook is declared vanquished and the Winning teams parades in triumph singing jeering songs at the vanquished. A name is conferred upon the victorious hook and it is set side for another occasion

source: from the book of some sinhala combative, field and aquatic sports and games
            by P.E.P. Deraniyagala 2003 / 2004