Kambala or Kambla is a famous rural sport, prominent in districts of Udupi and Mangalore in the state of Karnataka in India. Kambala is also known to be held in few northern parts of Kerala like Kasargod. Kambala is a traditional buffalo race in muddy waters, held from December till March on weekends (sat/sun) every year.
(Click on play button to watch the photo video)
Kambala is a race between pairs of bullocks, which are rode by a human. The bullocks are tied together with a wooden shaft over their neck. These bullocks are typically dedicated bullocks of the family for the Kambala and are pride of the family.
More pics and details after the jump…
The race is conducted typically on an unused rice field in muddy water. The length of the race is usually about 100 or 200 meters. The race are classified based on the age of the bullocks; and this is determined by counting the number of tooth that has fallen. Winners are paid rewards in cash or kind.
Locals in this area look forward for these events yearly and are a great get together for the family and friends. These races happen at break neck speeds and are a treat to watchers eyes and are very popular among everyone from aged people to city going to youths.
Popular Kmbala include Kadri Kambala, Koti Chennaya Kambala, Jaya-Vijaya, Surya Chandra, Kantabare Boodabare, Lava Kusha, Katpady Arasa Kambala and Kaup Arasa Kambala.
Below is a brief photo documentary of the sport/art/passion what is known as Kambala. You may click on the image to view it large (will display inline).
My Flickr set for Kambal photographs may be viewed here.
Most kambalas are held under the banner of Kambala Samithi and the rest are held under the support of temples and political support.
The above collage is a result of photographs taken from my two kambala trips to Puttur - ‘Koti Chennaya Kambala ‘ and B.C.Road ‘Jaya Vijaya Kambala’.
– Update (based on few comments) July 02, 2008 19.16 IST –
About the animals and their treatment: There is always two sides to a story on any thing. Here I have not tried to hide any thing.. this is more of emotions I felt watching Kambala and I have tried to capture the same with my camera and share with you all.
Please do note that Kambala is a very old traditional sport/art of the people of south India. It is their only entertainment and it is their passion of the people around these places. Most of these raiders and people own these bulls are farmers and look after these bulls as their family or how people in cities look after their pets. These bulls are very well taken care of.. in some case more than the once that are used for farming or manual labor.
I personally have seen races in these Kambala where the rider is very hesitant on hitting or hurting these bulls.. I can very clearly remember one young pair where bulls were just walking and the rider just used to try and scare them by just acting/patting one there back.. I think he was even softer then most moms would pat on their kids. And there are definitely few exception and it hurt me.. some people don’t understand animals or care for them. It is these people that need to be educated. These exception are there every where as in life.
There will always some times be bad treatment of animals when ever humans interact with animals in any place. One can talk about people pets at home to domestic helps or animals being used to transport goods to animals being used in agriculture or in sports or in entertainment.
Most people in there ignorance or trying to boost there own ego end up harming animals.. especially the wild once.. I can recall a recent incident on my trip to one of the national parks.. people used to stop on the highway and feed the animals like langur or deer. This makes these animals think every one passing by may give food and they end up getting killed by speeding vehicles or by poachers.
I think most of us .. at least me care about animals and respect the work Menaka does for animals.
Related post by Suruchi (fellow photographer) can be viewed here.
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