After the agitation in Tamil Nadu against the ban on jallikattu, the public in Karnataka are raising their voice to lift ban from traditional buffalo race, Kambala.
Kambala is an annual buffalo race which is a tradition in the Karnataka's coastal regions, organised mainly in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. The Kambala season generally starts in November and lasts till March.
Buffalo race during Kambala festival at Moodbidri
The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in the adjacent slush filled tracks. The pair of buffaloes are tied to the plough and one person anchors it. The buffalos are made to run fast to beat the opponent by a whip-lashing farmer.
A participant during the Kambala in Mangalore
The festival begins with an inaugural ceremony and a parade of the participating farmers along with their prized buffaloes. The racing tracks are normally about 120 to 160 metres in length and 8 to 12 metres in width.
Kambala in Adve-Nandikoor
Historically, the winning pair of buffaloes was rewarded with coconuts and bananas. But, these days cash award is also popular.
Kambala has emerged as an organised rural sport, with elaborate planning and scheduling to accommodate competietions at different places.
Kambala at night
People place massive bets on the buffaloes to win. A well organised Kambala can draw as many as 15,000 to 20,000 spectators. Innovations have been made in conducting Kambala race and in some places day and night races are arranged under floodlights.
Opposition by animal rights activists:
Kambala has been criticised by animal rights activists as they perpetuate cruelty due to the use of whips on the racing buffaloes. The government has advised the riders to be gentle on buffaloes and avoid using whips during the race.
In 2014, based on lawsuits filed by animal welfare organizations, the Supreme Court of India ordered a ban on Kambala and Jallikattu.