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Namma Kambala Roars into Bengaluru: Historic Buffalo Race Set to Thrill the City!

The upcoming Namma Kambala event in Bengaluru is expected to further elevate the cultural significance of Kambala on a national scale.

Shivam Dwivedi
Namma Kambala Roars into Bengaluru: Historic Buffalo Race Set to Thrill the City! (Photo Source: @karnatakatourism)
Namma Kambala Roars into Bengaluru: Historic Buffalo Race Set to Thrill the City! (Photo Source: @karnatakatourism)

Bengaluru, the vibrant capital of Karnataka, is set to make history as it hosts the much-celebrated coastal cultural sport, 'Kambala,' on November 25 and 26. Organizers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a grand spectacle, marking the first-ever occurrence of the buffalo race in the city. Invitations have been extended to celebrities nationwide, promising an event that will draw the attention of the entire country.

Anticipation Builds as Coastal Participants Arrive

Preparations are in full swing as around 200 pairs of buffaloes, accompanied by their owners, are expected to arrive in Bengaluru from the coastal regions. Palace Grounds, meticulously arranged for the occasion, will witness a trial run on Thursday, adding to the excitement and anticipation surrounding the event.

Clarification on Ticket Sales Speculations

Contrary to speculations about selling tickets for the Kambala event, organizers have debunked such claims. The race, open to the public, will take place on both Saturday and Sunday, offering enthusiasts a chance to witness the thrilling spectacle live at no cost.

Star-Studded Guest List

The event has attracted attention from notable personalities, with invitations extended to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Shetty, Shilpa Shetty, KL Rahul, Sunil Shetty, Darshan, and various sandalwood actors. The main stage is dedicated to the late Kannada actor Puneeth Raj Kumar. A massive turnout of two lakh people is expected, prompting Bengaluru police to implement comprehensive security measures.

Resurgence of Kambala

Kambala, a traditional buffalo race held in slush-filled paddy fields, is a cultural phenomenon in coastal Karnataka, specifically in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada, between November and March. The sport faced a ban in 2014 due to concerns about animal cruelty, but it was later legalized in 2017, following public and political pressure.

What is Kambala?

Origins and Tradition: Kambala is a buffalo race traditionally sponsored by local Tuluva landlords and households in coastal districts. The Tuluva people, an ethnic group native to Southern India, are the primary patrons of this event. The race, initially non-competitive, served as a thanksgiving ritual to express gratitude to the gods for protecting the animals from diseases.

Race Dynamics

During the race, buffaloes race in pairs on parallel tracks filled with mud and water. Each pair is accompanied by a 'Kambala runner' or jockey, responsible for controlling and commanding the animals. The winning team advances to higher rounds until a champion emerges.

Beyond Racing

In addition to winning the race, participants aim to splash water, with some winners even determined by the quantity of water splashed, referred to as 'kolu.' Victory in a Kambala race is considered a prestigious accomplishment, leading to special treatment for the racing buffaloes throughout the year.

Cultural Impact Beyond Karnataka

The Kannada movie ‘Kantara’ played a pivotal role in popularizing Kambala outside Karnataka, turning it into a blockbuster and bringing the unique sport to the attention of audiences across the country.

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