Thirty archers with bamboo bows & arrows are waiting on instruction. The archers aim at a straw tube 60 feet away. Each of them has 34 arrows that they must shoot in four minutes. They shoot one arrow after the other, keeping their movements smooth and practiced. The archers will shoot 24 arrows within three minutes for the next round.
In Shillong (the capital of northeastern Indian state Meghalaya), archery is a popular skill. This event takes place every day behind a row liquor shops and near a motor garage. It is not held on Sundays or state holidays.
Archery is a part of traditional Meghalayan rites. There are folk stories that have been told about its origins for generations. The Khasi Hills Archery Sports Institute sets the rules for the event. Khasis are the Indigenous people of the state, along with Jaintias as well as the Garos.
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Matias Jyrwa 58 used to attend the same event every year with his father since he was eleven years old. His sons have been taught the tradition by him, who is an accomplished archer. “Not many young people are interested, especially in the city. But…