The Kambala festival of Mangalore is so much fun to watch and is completely thrilling. People are full of spirit and cheer for the buffalos at the festival and the one winning the race also gets a prize. The Kambala festival is celebrated in quite a few villages some of the most popular ones are Bajagoli, Puttur, Kolatta, Majalu, Uppinagadi, and Bolantur.
There are many beliefs and myths related to the origin and rituals of the festival. Local villages claim that the festival was started by Hoysala kings, with a motive to find out whether buffalos can be trained for wars just like horses and elephants. Later the race became a sport of amusement for the kings and the tradition was passed on to the future generations by the landlords of the Tulu region.
Day 1 : Pick up from Airport /Hotel at Mangalore at 12noon, Post, Lunch visit Pilikula Nisargadhama, Science Park, Artisans Village, Guthumane & Lake Garden. Come back to Kambala location by 6pm and plan some candid photo shoot, Evening Dinner at Shetty Lunch Home restaurant and overnight stay.
Day 2 :After breakfast 07.30am proceed to the Kambala location, Kambala will start at 9am, Later proceed to udupi have authentic local Mangalore cuisine lunch at Hotel Thimmappa near Malpe beach Udupi, After lunch proceed to Malpe beach and boating to St Mary’s Island, If you have time visit Udupi Sri Krishna Temple and Evening Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight stay.
Day 3 : After breakfast check out the hotel, Drop at Mangalore Airport/Hotel
The setup and Race:
Race track: Kambala is performed on two parallel race tracks, filled with slushy water.
The buffaloes: Buffalo owners and farmers in the region take great care of their buffalos and best of them are well fed, oiled and nurtured for a race in Kambala. Buffaloes are usually raced in pairs during a Kambala buffalo race event, held together with ploughs and ropes. The best of Kambala Buffaloes can cover a 140-meter race track in less than 12 seconds. The Honorable Supreme Court of India has issued several guidelines to ensure Kambala buffaloes are not harmed, tortured or ill-treated.
The rider: The jockey or Kambala runner is the man commanding the buffaloes and races along with them. Only most athletic youth can handle massive beasts. The runner stands on a wooden plank (known as halage) supported to the setup that holds two buffaloes together (called Negilu). The Kambala runner controls the buffaloes with a whip or ropes. Runner also entertains spectators by splashing water as high as possible during the race. Kambala venue will be home to hundreds of buffaloes and their caretaker teams, just like how automotive races consist of race cars and their crew.
The race: Two teams of buffaloes along with their jockeys race towards the finish line on the two parallel race tracks. Race goes on all day and winners qualify for next rounds. Besides reaching the finish line first, prizes are also given for splashing water high till a target set above (known as kolu).
Season: Kambala events begin after the paddy harvest is done, which is usually during the month of October. Kambala events are held in various parts of Tulu nadu (Tulu speaking regions in South Canara districts) between November and March.
Major Kambala Events: Over 45 different villages in coastal Karnataka celebrate Kambala race every year. A few popular venues are:
- Kadri & Pilikula, Mangaluru
- Moodubidire & Puttur
- Kuluru & Surathkal
PERIOD FROM JANUARY TO MARCH
How To reach
By Air : The Nearest Airport is Mangalore Airport
By Train : The Nearest Railway Station is Mangaluru Junction railway station is the connecting point for the city and there are various fast trains available from cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Chennai, etc.
By Road : You may travel to Mangalore via inter-state or intra-state tourist buses
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