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Kambala to be held in Bengaluru for the first time

Published: 30th Nov, 2023


Bengaluru Kambala Samiti to organise this Cultural sport event in Bengaluru for the first time. Expected to be big event showcasing the cultural significance to a larger audience.

About Kambala

  • An annual buffalo race taking the form of folk sport and a cultural celebration, held in the south western Indian state of Karnataka.
  • The racers try to bring the buffaloes under controlby holding their reins tight and whipping them. The Kambala racetrack is a slushy paddy field.
  • In its traditional form, Kambala was non-competitiveand buffalo pairs raced one after another in paddy fields.
  • It has a 700-year-old history. During the early days of the festival it was known as Karaga celebrations. Later it came to be known as Kambala celebrations. Also observed as thanksgiving to gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
  • Sponsored by local Tuluva landlords and households in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi of Karnataka and Kasaragod of Kerala, a region collectively known as Tulu Nadu.
  • The Kambala season generally starts in November and lasts until March. These are organized through Kambala samithis

Cultural significance of Event

  • Along with kambala sports, there will a food court with close to 200 stalls showcasing food from the coastal Karnataka region,
  • Cultural programmes celebrating Karavali culture. The goal is to bring the culture of Kambala to Bengaluru.
  • Karavaliin Kannada refers to the coastal area of Karnataka. This region has immense natural beauty also its own unique cultural traditions and rich heritage. The Karavali Utsav is a celebration of the rich dance, music, culture, and nature of the Karavali region.

Different beliefs on origin of kambala

  • Originated in the farming community of Karnataka. The festival is dedicated to Lord Kadri Manjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
  • The festival was started by the Hoysala Kingsto see if the buffaloes could be trained and used in war. 

Types of Kambalas

Traditionally, there were two types of Kambalas :

  1. Pookere Kambala
  2. Bale Kambala

The celebration of Bale Kambala was discontinued about 900 years ago. So, the Kambala that we see today is the Pookere Kambala variety.

Issues Surrounding Kambala

  • Animal welfare activists condemn the sport, contending that Kambala inflicts cruelty on animals, which are not physiologically suited for racing and are compelled to run out of fear of punishment.
  • They argue that such practices violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960, which prohibits actions causing unnecessary pain to animals, amounting to cruelty.
  • In a prior judgment on May 7, 2014, the Supreme Court had prohibited activities like jallikattu, bullock-cart races, and Kambala.
  • However, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance of 2017 sanctioned the organization of Kambala events, stipulating that measures must be implemented to prevent cruelty to the participating bulls.

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