This Kambala season, 20 races to keep people on edge

A file photo of Kambala race.

As many as 20 Kambalas, including two traditional ones, will be held in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasargod districts from November 2019 to March 2020.

The first ever Kambala (buffaloe race) of this fiscal (2019-20), ‘Sathya Dharma’, will be organised at Kakkapadavu Myra Bharkajaalu, near Uli village, in Bantwal taluk on November 30.

Kambala, a folk sport, is organised in a professional way. Owing to the efforts of entrepreneur M R H Punja and Gunapala Kadamba, who is heading Kambala Protection, Care and Training Academy, the Kambala has witnessed many changes after PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) petition seeking ban on it was referred to the division bench of Supreme Court in 2018.

Jilla Kambala Samithi (comprising Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod districts) President P R Shetty told DH that organisers of Kambala had been briefed on government’s do’s and donts.

“All the eight points listed in the government’s circular insists that pair of buffaloes racing down the 100-metre slushy track should not be subjected to any cruelty,” Shetty said.

In the previous fiscal (2018-19), 18 Kambalas had been organised. The final Kambala held in Paivalike in Kasargod district had ended with the Superintendent of Police (SP) filing case on the organisers based on a complaint from PETA.

“This time there are 20 Kambalas including two traditional (not competitive) Kambalas,” he added.

The district administration is also likely to organise Pilikula Kambala in February 2020.

All Kambalas, the only entertainment for villagers, will start around 8 am. The race actually peaks during the afternoon. Kambala goes on for 24 to 36 hours depending on the buffalo pairs.

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