Political rivals come together to hold Kambala


Putting ideological differences aside, Karnataka’s political foes, the Congress and the BJP, have joined together to organize Kambala, the Bengaluru slush track buffalo race. The event will take place on November 25 and 26.

What is the Kambala Race?

  • The Kambala race is an annual buffalo race held in Karnataka, India’s southern state. It is a celebration held in the district of Dakshina Kannada. 
  • The race is well-attended by the farming community, villages, tourists, and photographers. It is traditionally supported by local Tuluva landlords and households in the coastal regions of Dakshina Kannada ,Udupi in Karnataka, and Kasaragod in Kerala.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court prohibited kambala events. However, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 authorized the holding of kambala events as long as precautions are followed to protect the participating bulls.
An Action picture of a Kambala race held in rural Karnataka annually where a Jockey is seen running along with a pair of black buffalo bulls near Karkala town in India.

What is the historical context behind the Kambala Race?

  • Traditional Kambala was non-competitive, with the pair of them running one after the other. In modern Kambala, the contest is usually between two pairs of buffaloes. Farmers race their buffaloes in places like Vandaro and Choradi to thank God for saving them from sickness.
  • Traditionally, the winning pair of buffaloes was given coconuts and bananas. Today’s winners receive gold and silver coins. Some organizing organizations present the champion with an eight-gram gold coin. Cash rewards are sometimes granted in competitions.
  • Kambala continues to draw enormous rural crowds, as it has for the past three centuries. People wager on the buffaloes, and more than 20,000 people can be seen in a well-organized Kambala, egging on and cheering the buffaloes to finish the race.
  • Night races are held in several areas under floodlights.

What are the different types of Kambala?

  • Pookere Kambala
  • Baare Kambla
  • Kori Kambala
  • Arasu Kambla
  • Devere Kambla
  • Baale Kambala

What is the legal status of Kambala?

  • Kambala received criticism for being rude to racing buffaloes.
  • The Supreme Court of India banned Kambala in 2014, citing animal cruelty concerns.
  • Karnataka repealed the ban in 2017 with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance.
  • Following the resolution of lawsuit, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2018, further legalized Kambala.

What is the difference between Jallikattu and Kambala?

  • The Kambala race is an annual buffalo race held in Karnataka, India’s southern state. It is a Karnataka event held in the Dakshina Kannada area. From November until March, the race is held as part of the harvest festival. 


  • Jallikattu is a 2,000-year-old sport in which a wild bull is released into a crowd of people. 
  •  Participants attempt to grab the bull’s hump and ride it or control it. 
  •  If they fail, the owner of the bull receives the prize. 
  •  “Jallikattu” is derived from the terms “Calli” (coins) and “Kattu” (tie), and refers to a bundle of coins tied to the bull’s horns.