Covid-19 impact: Kambala buffalo race to be held in day time from Jan 30
Kambala Samithi decides to do away with flood-lit races to prevent huge gatherings
Mangaluru: The annual traditional buffalo race, Kambala, a popular sport in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and neighbouring Kasaragod in Kerala, will be held this year from January 30. Traditionally, it is held in November and March. However, the Kambala Samithi has decided not to organise the race in flood lights in the night. Instead, the races will be held in the day time from 9 am to 7 pm in view of the Covid threat.
According to the statement released by the Kambala Samathis, the season's first Veera-Vikrama Jodukare Kambala will be held on January 30 - 31 at Hokkadigoli in Bantwal taluk and later it will be continued on February 6 - 7 at Aikala Bawa, February 13 - 14 at Vamanjur, February 20 - 21 at Moodbidri, February 27 - 28 at Miyyaru, March 6 - 7 at Bangrakulur and March 20 - 21 at Venur.
"Since life is getting back to normal, several Kambala patrons have expressed interest in organising the event. Hence, it has been decided in the meeting that Kambala this year will be a two-day event. The decision was taken as per the wishes of Kambala organisers, buffalo owners and the lovers of the sport.
This year, Kambala will be held from 9 am to 7 pm only. If Kambala is organised in the night, then there are chances of a large number of people gathering to witness the buffalo race, which we have to avoid due to the Covid-19 pandemic" says Kambala Samiti president P R Shetty, adding that the rules and regulations will be formed at the committee's next meeting and the organisers have been asked to ensure that all guidelines are strictly followed.
Kambala is the traditional buffalo racing sport held in coastal districts of Karnataka. The races are held on slushy paddy fields in which a pair of buffaloes, sometimes tied to a plough, run in parallel tracks with a farmer (jockey) controlling them. According to the reports of recent years, normally 20 to 30 Kambalas are held every year.
Last year, 20 Kambalas were held in undivided Dakshina Kannada and in Kasargod. In fact, last year's Kambala had created several records with jockey Srinivas Gowda coming to limelight and getting the nation's attention for his speed and record by winning 46 medals in 15 Kamabala races.
The modern day Kambala are organised in various categories like Kane Halage (rounded wooden plank is tied to buffaloes), Adda Halage (horizontal wooden plank tied to buffaloes), Hagga Hiriya and Hagga Kiriya, Negilu Hiriya and Negilu Kiriya.
There are several myths and beliefs about the origin of the sport. Some say Hoyasala kings started the sport to test the fitness of buffaloes for employing in wars just like elephants and horses. Later, it became a race for amusement of kings and was passed down the generations.
Like Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, Kambala was also banned by the Supreme Court. But The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 re-legalised the Kambala festival in Karnataka.