Kambala: The Buffalo race

Kambala is an annual Buffalo race held in the South Canara region. It is a traditional sport which provides entertainment for the rural people. Two pairs of Buffaloes are made to run along with a runner in a muddy water feild (usually a paddy field) and the fastest team wins. The buffaloes are again divided into juniors and seniors based on the presence or absence of the wisdom tooth. Like any normal sport, Kambala also has rules and different categories like :

Getting ready to race.
Getting ready to race.


1) Negilu (Plough) category- The runner holds the plough which is attached to the pair and then runs along with the Buffaloes.

2) Hagga (Rope) category- The pair of Buffaloes are held together with a rope and the runner has to hold the rope and run with the Buffaloes.

3) Adda Halage (wooden plank)- The runner has to balance himself on the wooden plank while the Buffalo runs.

4) Kane Halage (round wooden board)- The block on which the runner stands has a small hole in the center. While the Buffalo runs the water is forced out of the hole like a fountain. The height of the water fountain determines the winner.

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Let the race begin.


The Buffaloes used for this event are specially trained. They are given extra care, proper nourishment and vigorous training everyday. The runner also trains along with the Buffaloes everyday.



The Kambala I’ve seen is known as Baradi Kambala which is organised every December in Kanthavara village. This year around 160 pairs participated from Kanthavara and nearby places.

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There are many people who take this event  very seriously and it is a matter of pride and respect. Kambala has indeed lived in the hearts of the people of Udupi and Mangalore. Kamabla is pure culture and tradition for south Canara.

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Finishing a race is important, but racing is more important – Dale Earnhardt


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Thank you for reading. Hope you liked it  . I would like to see your comments, reviews or contributions at [email protected] .

To view the pictures in high quality do see them on my Flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/97863598@N05/

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