Mallakhamb is a traditional sport, originating from the Indian subcontinent, in which a gymnast performs aerial yoga or gymnastic postures and wrestling grips in concert with a vertical stationary or hanging wooden pole, cane, or rope. The word Mallakhamb also refers to the pole used in the sport.The pole is usually made from sheesham (Indian rosewood) polished with castor oil.Three popular versions of Mallakhamb are practiced using a sheesham pole, cane, or rope.
The name Mallakhamb derives from the terms malla, meaning wrestler, and khamb, which means a pole. Literally meaning “wrestling pole”, the term refers to a traditional training implement used by wrestlers.
Competitive Mallakhamb at the national level first made its appearance in 1958 at the National Gymnastics Championships (NGCs) held at the Pahadganj Stadium, Delhi, India. The Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) proposed to recognize the game and include it in subsequent NGCs. The first National Mallakhamb Championships were held in 1962 at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, as part of the NGCs. Around 1968, the game was introduced in the All-India Inter-University Gymnastics Championships. The National Mallakhamb Championships were organized annually by the GFI until 1976. In 1977, these Mallakhamb Championships were removed from the GFI, and no major championship games were held until 1980.