Kambala, the traditional slush-track buffalo race of coastal Karnataka, resumed in Moodbidri in Dakshin Kannada district after a year.The Supreme Court on November 6 refused to stay a plea filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to ban a legislation in Karnataka that permits the annual buffalo race.The sport is similar to the other controversial traditional game called Jallikattu. The Kambala season begins in November and goes on till March.

In 2014, based on lawsuits filed by animal welfare organizations, the Supreme Court of India ordered a ban on Kambala and Jallikattu (Kambala is buffalo racing where as jallikattu is bull taming where a group of people try to hold on to the bull and win). On July 3, 2017, the President of India approved the promulgation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017[11] and the festival Kambala has been legalised in Karnataka.

"In pursuance of the proviso to Clause (1) of Artcle 213 of the Constitution of India, the President of India hereby approves the promulgation of 'The Prevention of cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017' by the Governor of Karnataka," read the notification from President. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, was amended in its application to Karnataka by the bill.

Kambala, held from November to March, involves a pair of buffaloes tied to the plough and anchored by one person. They are made to run in parallel muddy tracks in a competition in which the fastest team wins. It is believed to be held to propitiate the Gods for a good harvest, besides being a recreational sport for farmers, according to news18.com.  

According to one belief, Kambala is a festival that originated in the farming community of Karnataka. The festival is dedicated to Lord KadriManjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It was celebrated to please the Gods for a good harvest. It was also a form of entertainment or recreational sport for the farming community. The winner of the buffalo race was rewarded with a coconut and such other things.

Tags: Kambala