Experts mull over modifying Kambala rules

Experts mull over modifying Kambala rules

SC bans exhibition and training of bulls as performing animals

Experts mull over modifying Kambala rules

Even as the debates are on over the Supreme Court’s order on banning the exhibition and training of bulls as performing animals affecting Kambala, the Kambala experts are mulling over modifying Kambala, to retain it as a traditional sport.  


The apex court order that specifically bans ‘Jallikattu’ in Tamil Nadu and bullock-cart race in Maharashtra, where the buffaloes are met with severe violence, has not particulary mentioned of Kambala, a traditional sport of Tulunadu. This, the Kambala experts from Kambala Committee term it as a respite from the fear of ban.  

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Kambala Committee Convenor K Gunapala Kadamba took an exception on referring Kambala as buffalo race.

“Kambala can not be compared to buffalo race and it is not organised for entertainment alone. It has a traditional significance and people of Tulunadu are connected to the sports since time immemorial,” he said.

However, he emphasised on the need to maintain its originality as a traditional sport than making it a commercial sport.

“Though Kambala has witnessed a lot of changes in the long run, it is time for us to bring some modification in the way it is organised, avoid violence and retain its significance, before it is too late. In the wake of the Apex Court order, the Kambala Committee has mooted to take Kambala forward in a more ethical way,” he said.

If nearly 100  traditional Kambalas take place in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts during November and December, as many as 20 competitive Kambalas are held from November end till April. The vast popularity of Kambala has been on the rise over the years. 

The word Kambala is derived from Tulu words ‘Gampa Kala.’ Long ago, the large-scale cultivators with over two acre paddy field, used to invite buffalo owners to plough the field on a single day. 

Then, it was a co-operative system. After the work, the buffaloes were made to race and the best ones were rewarded, which gradually took form of Kambala. 

Kadri Kambala organiser Navaneeth Shetty said an aspect which is more significant about Kambala is that several landlords belonging to Jain community used to be and continue to be the patrons of Kambala.

“Kambala was not violent in its approach in initial days, if at all it was, then the Jains would not have patronised it as the community is against violence,” he said. Moreover, he said, Kambala buffaloes are treated with love and care by their owners.

Unlike in the past when ploughing buffaloes where the participants of Kambala, now the buffaloes are nurtured exclusively for Kambala race. The owners treat these buffaloes with an honour till their death. The violence in Kambala too has reduced to a great extent, he said.

There are at least 250 individuals who raise Kambala buffaloes and minimum 1,000 people involved in various aspects of Kambala in the undivided DK district.