There is a quiet endeavour to conserve the rich affluent cultural representation of Tulunadu, “Kambala” in the remote area of Meeyaru in Karkala. The Kambala Conservation, Maintenance and Training Academy is one such effort that aims to promote the traditional folk art.
Kambala, which is traditionally rooted in the cultural and folk legacy of Tulunadu, as one always remembers Tulunadu with Kambala and vice versa. However, in the surge of the various forms of contemporary amusements and entertainments, Kambala is slowly loosing its stronghold in its birth soil and it is only played in the remote areas of undivided Dakshina Kannada district.
Kambala Conservation, Maintenance and Training Academy in Meeyaru is instituted with an objective to sustain the folk art from getting extinct.
The coordinator, K Gunapal Kadamba, said that the Academy is a private initiative which was set up in 2010. A 10-day training is given to the selected candidates to perform in Kambala. It is totally a non-governmental initiative that runs with the help of the funds contributed by the donors.
The 10-day camp is conducted every year since its inception. He added that around 65 people applied for the training, of which 29-30 were selected. There are nearly 20 pairs of buffaloes brought from across the undivided Dakshina Kannada district. The expenses incurred for the maintenance of the buffaloes are taken care by the Academy, he added.
The training is given to the trainees following rigorous exercise regime besides systematic diet to be followed. The camp is usually held in the month of September-October. The trainees include educated people who take off from their busy schedule to train themselves.
The expense of each trainee is Rs 15,000 and the Academy will fund for the purpose. The trainees are also trained for rope and cane weaving which is a part of the Kambala. Around Rs 4.5 lakh is invested for the 10 day camp. As many as 60 kilograms of horse gram dal is boiled and crushed to feed the buffaloes everyday.
The trainees are trained in the Lava-Kusha Jodukere stadium, which has two sets of buffalo race ponds with each of 145-metre length and 20 foot width.
The trainees are given talk on the issues related to health and mental fitness. The first camp was organised in Shirlalu of Karkala, wherein 55 people were trained. The second camp was held in Meeyaru, in which 35 aspirants took part. The strict routine life style is practiced in the 10-day camp. Kadamba says that it is not that the participants will be experts with mere 10 days training. They need to continue practicing with dedication and after five years, they can become an expert professional buffalo racer.
There are four varieties of buffalo race. “Kane Halage” and “Adda Halage” are held in the senior category, while “Negilu Vibhaga” and “Hagga Vibhaga” are held for both senior and junior categories. Kadamba said Kambala is organised for the trainees and other racers on November 10 by the Academy. The Kambala programme held across the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts will begin usually from November 15.
The Academy is trying to introduce technologies to maintain transparency in the result. For the first time, censor monitoring and sports and cable camera will be introduced in the race to procure accurate and undisputed result. The battery run censor cable will be instituted beneath the Kamabala field and the result monitoring display is set up at the end of the stadium.
The green and red lights will help to identify the movements of the buffaloes. The academy and Lava-Kusha stadium is situated in five-acre land.
One of the trainees, Sudhakar Naik said the training offered in the Academy has helped in confidence building, to become a skilled and professional Kambala racer. Workouts and personality development exercise helps a lot, he added.