Mangaluru, Jan 06, 2016: Using technology in a big way is our own kambala, the slush track race of buffaloes held in coastal districts of Karnataka. With hundreds of pairs taking part in these races conducted even under floodlights, organisers now use laser beam network system with timers to decide the winners.
Traditional Kambala has a history of 600-700 years. After cultivation of second crop of paddy,people used to have buffalo race which has progressed to this state now. Modern kambala as we know it was started at Bajagoli near Karkala named Lava-Kusha kambala in 1969-70. While six out of 24 kambala for the current kambala year already over, various organisations are preparing to hold events in their respective villages.Usually 150-160 pairs of buffalo take part in kambala. The distance of track is in the range of 135m to 150m. Puttur kambala attracts as many as one lakh spectators.
In Kambala the categories are mainly, adda halage, kanahalage, hagga kiriya, hagga hiriya, negilu hiriya, negilu kiriya etc. Most of the organisers give gold medals that weight one to two sovereigns to the winners. Over 5,000 people in coastal districts are engaged directly in kambala activities and for most of them it is their livelihood.
Kambala Academy has trained many people in this regard free of cost and 30 jockeys (runners) have been trained scientifically. The first grade jockeys earn Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh per year.
AWBI - Animal Welfare Board of India, insisting that the state government ban kambala in toto in the coastal districts, government in a letter has directed DK DC and Udupi DC to allow Kambala with strict guidelines.