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Guru Hanuman
Born Vijay Pal
March 15, 1901(1901-03-15)
Chirawa, Rajasthan
Died May 24, 1999 (aged 98)
Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

Guru Hanuman (Devanagari: गुरु हनुमान) (1901-1999) was a legendary wrestling coach of India who coached many medal winning wrestlers. He was awarded prestigious Dronacharya Award in 1987, the highest recognition for a sports coach in India, and Padma Shri in 1983. [1]


Early life

Born as Vijay Pal on 15 March 1901, in Chirawa in Rajasthan state. He did not attend school but began wrestling at the local village akhada from an early age. He moved to Delhi in 1920 to set up a shop near Birla Mills in Subzi Mundi, but instead turned a wrestler and soon gained popularity in the field. [2][3].


The Indian industrialist K. K. Birla gave him land to set up Akhara at in Malkaganj, Subzi Mandi (Old Delhi), thus 'Birla Mills Vyayamshala' was born around 1925, which in time became the Guru Hanuman Akhara.

Both as a wrestler and as a coach, Guru Hanuman was a legend as he created a template for modern Indian wrestling, by seasoned traditional Indian wrestling style, pehlwani to international wrestling standards. In time he coached almost all of India's freestyle international wrestlers [4]. Three of his disciples Sudesh Kumar, Prem Nath and Ved Prakash won gold medals at the Cardiff Commonwealth Games in 1972. Other notable disciples, Satpal and Kartar Singh won gold medals in Asian Games in 1982 and 1986 respectively. Eight of his disciples got the highest Indian sporting honour Arjuna award. [3]

He was a bachelor and vegetarian. He died in a car crash on 24 May 1999, near Meerut, on his way to Haridwar. [5]

On August 9, 2003, a statue of Guru Hanuman was unveiled at the Kalyan Vihar Sports Stadium, in New Delhi,by former Delhi Chief Minister, Madan Lal Khurana, [6]

Guru Hanuman Akhara

This is a wrestlers training centre called akhara in traditional Hindi dialect. It was established in 1925 near Roshanara Park in north Delhi and it soon became the epicenter of Indian wrestling. Situated in the Old Delhi region, this akhara is said to have produced some of the brightest Indian wrestlers.

The young wrestlers training there have an unshakeable belief that the land is blessed. So much that even when the government offered to provide a larger land with better training facilities most of the wrestlers refused to shift out of the dilapidated buildings. However due to lack of space a modern gymnasium was built by the government at some distance from the akhara which is used by the trainees. The akhara is named after Guru Hanuman and currently trains about 200 wrestlers under the guidance of Maha Singh Rao.


  1. ^ Guru Hanuman no more Financial Express, May 25, 1999.
  2. ^ Obituary:Guru Hanuman The Guardian, June 21, 1999
  3. ^ a b Obituary: Guru Hanuman Kuldip Singh, The Independent, June 11, 1999.
  4. ^ Guru Hanuman Martial arts of the world: an encyclopedia, by Thomas A. Green. Publisher: ABC-CLIO, 2001. ISBN 1576071502. Page 723,
  5. ^ City's who's who, disciples pay last respects to Guru Hanuman Indian Express, May 26, 1999.
  6. ^ Guru Hanuman’s statue unveiled The Tribune, August 10, 2003

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