Kambala Festival

News Excerpt: 

The Namma Kambala buffalo race is making its debut in Bengaluru this year.

About Kambala Festival

  • Kambala is a traditional folk sport of buffalo race events popular in coastal Karnataka districts. It has agrarian origins. 
  • Kambala is derived from 'gampa kala,' where gampa refers to wet mud or slush. It is performed on two parallel race tracks filled with slushy water.
  • On February 2, 1970, the first identified kambala was held at Bajagoli, near Karkala in Udupi district. 
  • History: The Hoysala Kings began the event to see if buffaloes could be taught and used in battle. The Hoysalas were astounded by the buffaloes' speed and began racing them against one another.
  • Between November and March, the Kambala season normally begins after the southwest monsoon, after the tilling season and before seedling planting.
  • Buffaloes: Buffalo owners and farmers in the region take excellent care of their buffalos, and the best of them are well-fed, oiled, and groomed in preparation for a race in Kambala. 
  • Major Events: Over 45 villages in coastal Karnataka celebrate the Kambála race yearly. A few popular venues are:
    • Kadri & Pilikula, Mangaluru
    • Moodubidire & Puttur
    • Kakkepadavu
    • Kuluru & Surathkal
    • Uppinangadi
    • Venur

Legalisation of the Kambala Festival

  • Animal welfare organisations have criticised the sport, claiming it involves animal cruelty. 
  • The celebration of Kambala was stopped in Karnataka based on an order of the Supreme Court dated 7 May 2014.
  • After the Tamil Nadu government used an ordinance to legalise Jallikattu in 2017, the state government of Karnataka was forced to pass an ordinance legalising Kambala in 2017. 
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Second Amendment) Act, 2017, now allows it to be done with limits to prevent animal cruelty. 
  • The present edition in Bengaluru is part of an effort to popularise it among the urban community and promote it for Indian buffalo breed conservation.