This film is part of Free

In the Arena

In the princely state of Udaipur, elephants, wild tigers and boars are pitted against each other

Travelogue 1934 11 mins


In this edition of the Secrets of India series, a huntsman calls out, almost Tarzan-like, from the walls of the northern city of Udaipur to attract hundreds of wild boars from the surrounding jungle. Baiting the boar with grain for food he lures an unsuspecting beast into an arena to fight to the death with a tiger. Who will win this battle of the wild? Meanwhile, in another arena the Maharaja's elephants entertain crowds with a game of push and pull. Made for western audiences, this film and others in the series were approved by the Maharana of Udaipur.

Known as the city of lakes, Udaipur has a rich cultural heritage dating back centuries and is surrounded by lush jungles and farmland, full of some of the most dangerous animals on earth. The palaces of the Maharajas were focal points for tournaments of this kind delivered for his entertainment and other visiting dignitaries. Modernity and nature collide in a more playful moment when this film captures a wonderful scene of one of the Maharaja's elephants drinking water from a tap fitted against a wall. Then in Rajputana, Udaipur is now part of modern-day Rajasthan. Tejinder Jouhal