135 pairs of buffalos are participating in the 24-hour non-stop event

The images of Kudla's traditional buffalo-race “Kambla” organised on Sunday as part of the National Youth Festival will probably remain the prized possession for a team from Goa.

Premnath Kerkar and his teammates were so excited that they regretted that they had not seen Kambla so far though they stay so close to Dakshina Kannada. The Goans, who were busy competing with other States in the youth festival till Saturday, had grabbed the first opportunity to see Kambla. The 24-hour non-stop “Netravati-Phalguni Jodu Kere Kambla” started at Pilikula Nisargadhama on Sunday morning. It is expected to conclude on Monday morning. As many as 135 pairs of buffalos from different parts of the district are participating in the event.

The Goan team was among the early visitors to the Pilikula Nisargadhama.

This annual event, usually held in February, was advanced to coincide with the five-day National Youth Festival.

The Nisargadhama has arranged for flower and medicinal plants show that will be on till January 22.

District In-charge Minister J. Krishna Palemar and MLA Abhayachandra Jain formally inaugurated the event around 9 a.m. For three hours, various pairs of buffalos and the accompanying riders were allowed to practise.

Certain precautions were given before the start. One was regarding the use of whip. “Please bear in mind that spectators here include those who have come for the National Youth Festival. Photographs of the use of whip will be taken and be construed as an act of atrocity on the animal. Do not make excessive use of whip, especially at Manjoti (the end point of the race),” the commentator said.

The buffalo race started around noon. A large number of local residents had come to see the event. “I find this more entertaining than the youth festival events,” said Lokesh Chowta, a resident of Moodshedde, who works in a BPO firm. “Though the dynamics have changed, this sport still retains the same flavour. Rearing these buffalos is turning out to be expensive,” said Mr. Chowta, whose family stopped rearing Kambla buffalos a few years ago.

Executive Director of Pilikula Nisargadhama J.R. Lobo hoped there would be more visitors to the centre from the National Youth Festival. “They need to finish the competitions first and then move around the city,” he said. There was steady flow of buses carrying National Youth Festival delegates from the T.M.A Pai Convention Centre to the Nisargadhama.