KAMBALA (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Art and Culture)

News-CRUX-10     28th November 2023        
output themes

Context: Recently, Bengaluru made history by hosting its first Kambala race over the past weekend, featuring 159 pairs of buffaloes and their skilled jockeys speeding through specially designed slush tracks in the city's Palace Grounds.


  • About: It is a folk sport practiced in coastal Karnataka districts, especially in regions where Tulu speakers form a majority. 
  • In the past, races were hosted by various families and groups in sludgy fields in the days after paddy was harvested.
  • Cultural Significance: Kambala is a matter of prestige for many families, especially from the Bunt community in the coastal areas. 
  • Pairs of buffaloes are groomed by them round the year in the hope of winning a Kambala event.

4 Categories in Kambala

  • Negilu (plough), where light ploughs are used to tie buffaloes for the race. The event is for entry-level animals.
  • Hagga (rope), where buffaloes are raced by jockeys with just a rope tying the pair together.
  • Adda Halage, in which jockeys stand over a horizontal plank dragged by buffaloes.
  • Kane Halage, where a wooden plank is tied to buffaloes.

Kambala outlawed by the Supreme Court

  • Several organizations, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), had filed a petition against all traditional sporting events, complaining about animal abuse.
  • The complaint against Kambala was that the buffaloes’ noses are tied with a rope and the animals are whipped continuously during the race, which amounts to cruelty. 
  • The SC, which heard these petitions, ruled to ban Jallikattu, Kambala and bullock cart racing in 2014.