Competitive kambalas to kick start in the coastal belt today

The first of the 2022-23 season, Sathya-Dharma, is scheduled at Kakkya Padavu in Bantwal taluk

Published - November 25, 2022 08:31 pm IST - MANGALURU

Competitive kambalas (slush track buffalo races) of the 2022-23 season will kick start in the coastal belt on Saturday, with an addition of two new kambalas.

In all, 22 competitive kambalas have been tentatively scheduled covering Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod (Kerala) districts till April 8, 2023.

The first kambala of the season will be held at Kakkya Padavu, about 47 km away from Mangaluru, in Bantwal taluk. It will be the decennial year of the Sathya-Dharma kambala to be held at Kakkya Padavau (which is also called Kakke Padavu). The last kambala has been scheduled at Panapila, near Moodbidri, on April 8, 2023.

The former general secretary of the Kambala Committee of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod (Kerala) districts Vijaya Kumar Kanginamane told The Hindu that the kambalas to be held at Panapila and Bolangala, near Mudipu on the outskirts of Mangaluru, will be the two new additions for the current season. The kambala track at Bolangala is getting ready while the track at Panapila is ready. The schedule of some of the kambalas, including that of Panapila, may change, he said.

Mr. Kanginamane said that hitherto 18 to 20 kambalas were being held under the auspices of the committee in a season. Their number has risen to 22 this season. Of them, except two kambalas, all others have been scheduled on Saturdays.

He said that Katpady Beedu kambala (February 11, 2023), Mulky Arasu Kambala (December 31, 2022) and Aikala Bava Kambala (January 28, 2023) are more than a century old. “They are traditional kamblas turned now into competitive kambalas,” he said.

The length of the kambala tracks varied from 133.50 m to 150 m and the width of each track varied from 15 ft to 17 ft. The competitions are held in six categories: kane halage, adda halage, hagga senior, hagga junior, naegilu hiriya and naegilu kiriya.

He said that more pairs are expected for hagga junior competitions this season as many youngsters have shown interest in taking part in the events.

Mr. Kanginamane said that the traditional or non-competitive kambalas for 2022-23 began in the coastal belt on November 15. They will go on till December 15. The non-competitive traditional kambalas are organised by individual farmers or land-owning entities, including temples.

It may be mentioned here that the competitive kambalas of the 2021-22 season, which commenced on November 27 last year, came to an abrupt halt after the government imposed weekend and night curfew in January 2022. The Kambala Committee organised six of the 19 events scheduled for the season by then. However, they resumed on February 5, 2022. As the original schedule was disrupted, the committee reworked the events by listing out 11 kambalas to be held between February 5 and April 16, 2022.

Mr. Kanginamane said that buffalos cannot run on kambala tracks during summer due to the weather factor. Their skin condition does not permit them to run with vigour. Hence, it is advisable to hold kambalas before mid-March.

He said that the region has about 100 kambala jockeys of which 20 are best performers and, among them, eight are toppers.

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