Origins of Kadri Kambla
Posted: Monday, November 24th, 2008 | Posted by: Ashish Rao | Views: 29061
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In an age of Formual 1 racing, cyber games and twenty twenty, Mangalore is all set to showcase to the world its local sport, the Kadri Kambla. A unique race blending the might and speed of both man and beast. Localy known as the kambla, this ancient buffalo race has attracted visitors from all over the state.
They flock just to watch the men run alongside the buffaloes along a 130 m stretch on the muck of paddy fields. Being the first in the district the traditional race is an annual event and folks from various taluks gather at Mangalore to display their buffalo’s talent. Their ultimate aim being to win the coveted cash prize and gold medal.
The Kadri Kambla tradition has a rich history behind it. It is more then 60 years old and the Chowta kings of earlier days conducted this as a pastime. In those days it was called ‘Arasu Kambla’. Subsequently when the Kadri temple gained popularity the name changed to ‘Kadri Kambla’. The present paddy field venue at Kodialgutthu used to be the place where judgements were passed on petty quarrels. Twenty five years back the sport used to be called ‘ Mariyadeya Kona’. The event was organized  by any caste in olden days but now it is mostly organized by the bunt community. However the heads of many local  castes must be present during the race.  Castes such as Malaraya, Daivada, Bhandaramane, Jogi, Vishwakarma, Billava, Devadiga, Mundela and Madiwala take active part in the sport. It is mandatory that the  ‘Mahantharasa’  of the Kadri Jogi mutt be present at the race. A samithi called the Kadri Kambla samithi is formed since 20 years.
On the day of the event ,it is inaugurated by breaking of a coconut. Presently Nagaraj Shetty, Pradeep Kalkura, John Saldhana are actively involved. The Jugul sports club started the ‘Hagga Jaggata’ ( Tug of war). The other event along with these is called ‘Thappangai’ ( rugby with coconut). The buffalo races are usually scheduled in the afternoon. The award for winning the race in earlier days used to be only a lime but nowaydays a gold medal and trophies are awarded. The excitement created by the event is so much that all the neighbouring houses have guests coming in to watch the race. There is no entry fee to watch the Kadri kambla. Participation  spirits are high as men from taluks as far as Belthangady come and participate. Mangalore presently has only 2 acres of land at Kodial gutthu reserved for this race. It has not been commerialised. At other times rice is grown on these fields. The Mangalore City Corporation is planning to widen the road and this would shorten the length of the race track. The organizers have requested them not to go ahead with this road widening. The two tracks of the Kadri Kambla are called Machendranath and Gorakshanath. Another occasion when Kambla is organized is during Karavali Utsav when lakhs of rupees are spent in making an artificial track to race buffaloes. The District administration does not shell out any money for this event. Atleast 15 to 20 buffaloes from various taluks  flock to Kadri Kambla to be part of the race. The date is decided by the Tantri of Kadri temple.
The Buffaloes of the race are prepared for this event with great care. Since the male buffalo is lazy it takes more effort on part of the trainer to tame them. Training is given by making them swim in water and getting them used to the muck of the paddy fields. Some times the racers use the venue to run trials of the actual race. This is usually done a week in advance. Jockeys who run with the buffalo are also very important. They are usually chosen by way of a contract and sometimes their prices run into lakhs of rupees. The owners of buffaloes bear all expenses of the race. They have to have two buffaloes, a rope, and a plough. Kambla race is run in 3 categories. First , a single pair race against each other, then two pairs run together and a third category is when two pairs run together with a wooden plank on their necks. This is called ‘adda halage’. Another type of race which is called ‘Kane Halage’ is when a single pair of  buffalo is raced and a jockey stands on the plough , resulting in a jet of water gushing out. As part of the race a cloth is placed at twenty feet height between the two tracks. A ritualistic pole called ‘pookare’ is erected to mark the end of the race. In earlier days due to the presence of open space near the race track buffaloes could be made to wait but that space is slowly becoming less. Although there is no participation fee involved , trainers of buffaloes spend a lot on its preparation.

The buffaloes  are chosen when they are calfs and slowly tamed. The food expenses are Rs 100- 150 per day. Some times amount spent on food is more. The plough and instrument set which is placed on the buffalo costs anywhere between, Rs 8000 to 25,000. A drum to beat sounds and trumpet also are included in the expenses. All these are transported in lorries and atleast 5 members represent a team.

Racing your buffalo at the Kambla is considered an expensive hobby amongst agriculturalists. Individuals from Mumbai sometimes bid to win the race.

Having gained world recognition the Kadri Kambla is all set to attract hundreds to cheer the racing buffaloes on wet paddy fields this year.
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good article
Posted By: K, Friday, December 26th, 2008