Kadri Kambala


Have you ever imagined yourself enjoying the heat, dust and the wetness of the paddy field? Well I could not have imagined myself doing so. But I guess I was in for a surprise.
I did not know what to expect when all of a sudden one Friday evening my husband told me that we were to going to Mangalore to watch the Kambala. Kambala, a famous sporting event, is held in the rural costal Karnataka. The event generally happens during the winter seasons at various places. The famous buffalo race takes place on the wet paddy fields. An all-day event that includes various games such as race, tug of war and treasure hunt has an essence of rustic rural life. My husband had been planning for a long time to shoot this event but had never found adequate information about the sports or the event dates.
We were in luck this time. The news had been flashed in Hindu, the daily newspaper. A quick round of contacting people from Mangalore, told us that it was to be held in Kadri near Mangalore. Tickets booked, bags packed we were all set for the trip to Mangalore. Kadri Kambala here we come!!!
Before leaving, my husband had shown me some of the pictures of the event. I was super excited for the day.
We reached Mangalore at 6 in the morning. A quick check-in at a nearby hotel and we were all set for the day. Kadri turned out to be only about 2-3 KM from where we had put up. We reached the venue at 9 in the morning.
People had just begun to come in for the event. There were a lot people from different parts of the world who had come down to see this event. The ‘track’ used for Kambala is a paddy field filled with slush and mud. All the events that were to take place would take place on the paddy field itself. As the day went by people started pouring into the venue. It had soon turned out like a small village fair. The morning event compromised of kids, men and women racing through the paddy fields. It was sheer joy to see the village kids enjoying their time in the mud. This was followed by the tug of war and then the treasure hunt.
The final and the most awaited event of the day, the Buffalo race started at about 2 in the afternoon. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer. These guys are very strong runners who can keep up with the running buffaloes. If you think what the big deal is, try walking on that slushy pool of a track, let alone run. Your leg can get stuck in the mud any moment; it can even result in serious injury. Throughout the run, they will be beating the buffalo with the whip, very hard. But they say buffalo has the thickest skin, I hope it doesn’t hurt as much as it appears.
Kambala is a dangerous sport, even for the spectators. Every few minutes, it is normal to see a runaway pair ripping through the crowd. You have to keep your eyes and ears peeled and be quick to get out of the way. The beauty of the whole event lies largely in the spirit of the competition, village pride and things like that!
The organizers were very helpful and allowed the photographers to take up the prime place in the arena from where they could take the best shot. Every now and then I had to look out for my husband just to make sure that he was not in the way of any runaway buffalo.
The whole event ended at about 6 in the evening. We were totally exhausted by then but our hearts were filled with joy at being able to watch this grand event


Kambala 2


About prynkray

A software engineer by profession and a traveler and foodie by heart. Having traveled ever since childhood it has become a part of me now. So when ever I happen to get a chance I pack my bag and am on the roads. Being blessed with a super tolerant husband who gives into my whim of traveling, we do spend most of our savings on it. Well I do not exactly regret and neither does my husband complain.. Cooking is something I started doing after I left home for job. To be frank I was not such a cook when I started but years down the line I did start enjoying cooking. Picking up recipes from around the world is one of my passion though being a true at heart Bengali, I still love cooking Bengali food.

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