A participant tries to control a bull at the annual bull taming event 'Jallikattu' in Palamedu village on the outskirts of Madurai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AFP

During the Jallikattu festival in Tamil Nadu bulls festooned with marigolds are released from pens and men try to grab their horns to win prizes.

Participants try to control a bull during 'Jallikattu' in Allanganallur village on the outskirts of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AFP

As drums beat and the crowd cheers, a man leaps onto the back of a large bull and hangs tightly to its hump as the animal bucks and jumps.

If he can hold on to the bull for three jumps or for 30 seconds or for a distance of 15 meters he'll have a chance at winning prizes handed out by sponsors such as cooking pots, clothes, bicycles, motorbikes or even a car.

Tamers try to control a bull during the Jallikattu, in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
A bull charges towards a tamer during Jallikattu, in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. x Image Credit: AP
Motorcycles and bicycles are displayed before gifting them to bull owners and tamers during the Jallikattu, in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP

Hundreds of bull vaulters are competing in a Jallikattu festival. Taking place in amid a carnival-like atmosphere, the events are part rodeo and part running of the bulls and are held across India's Tamil Nadu state during the four-day Pongal, or winter harvest festival.

Tamers react as a fellow tamer tries to control a charging bull during the Jallikattu, in the village of Allanganallur, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
A tamer reacts as a bull charges towards him during the Jallikattu, in the village of Allanganallur, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP

The Jallikattu has its roots in Tamil culture and a centuries-old religious ritual.

The events were banned in Tamil Nadu in 2014 for two years after India's Supreme Court found them cruel, acting on petitions by animal rights activists. That sparked protests and eventually new legislation that exempt the event from animal cruelty laws.

Spectators watch bulls perform during the Jallikattu, in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
A participant is hit by a charging bull at the annual bull wrestling event 'Jallikattu' in Allanganallur village on the outskirts of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AFP

Dozens of young men were injured on the first day of a traditional bull-wrestling festival in southern India that has attracted the ire of animal activists.

Tamers react as a bull comes charging towards them during the Jallikattu, in Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
A tamer tries to control a bull during the Jallikattu, in Allanganallur, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
A tamer holds on to a bull's hump during the Jallikattu, in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
A participant falls under a bull while trying to control it at the annual bull-wrestling event 'Jallikattu' in Allanganallur village on the outskirts of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AFP
Owners and others use ropes to control a bull during the Jallikattu, in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
A tamer tries to control a bull during Jallikattu, in Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
Members of Jallikattu organising committee attend the Jallikattu, in the village of Palamedu, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AP
Participants try to control a bull at the annual bull-wrestling event 'Jallikattu' in Allanganallur village on the outskirts of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AFP
A bull charges towards participants during the Jallikattu bull-taming festival in Allanganallur, near Madurai, Tamil Nadu state. Image Credit: AP
A participant tries to control a bull during Jallikattu in Allanganallur village on the outskirts of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Image Credit: AFP