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Kambala is a grand festival of Karnataka whose major highlight is buffalo race. People from across the globe arrive here during the festival to witness this unique and wild buffalo race that is sure to give you the adrenaline rush. This sporting rural festival is celebrated every year in the wet fields. Locals claim that the race was once an amusing sport and pastime for the royals but now it is a tradition. Buffalos are made to race on the wet fields or tracks and are accompanied by a strong farmer. 

The Kambala festival is so much fun to watch and is completely thrilling. People are full of spirit and cheer for the buffalos at the festival and the one winning the race also gets a prize. The Kambala festival is celebrated in quite a few villages some of the most popular ones are Bajagoli, Puttur, Kolatta, Majalu, Uppinagadi, and Bolantur. 

History of Kambala Festival 

There are many beliefs and myths related to the origin and rituals of the festival. Local villages claim that the festival was started by Hoysala kings, with a motive to find out whether buffalos can be trained for wars just like horses and elephants. Later the race became a sport of amusement for the kings and the tradition was passed on to the future generations by the landlords of the Tulu region. 

Another popular belief regarding the origin of the race is related to farmers. It is said that the race was dedicated to Lord Kadri Manjunatha who is believed to be an avatar of Lord Shiva. The race was held to please Lord Kadri for a good harvest.  

The ancient name of the festival was Karaga which later got diluted to Kambala. The Kambala festival is categorized into two types, one version of it is known as Bale Kambala and the other is known as Pookere Kambala. It is said that Bale Kambala was discontinued some hundreds of years ago and today what we witness in the state of Karnataka is Pookere Kambala.  

Also Read: A race that attracts a huge gathering and tourists from all over the world

Major Attractions of Kambala Festival

Buffalo Exhibition 

The two-day festival begins with an exhibition of buffalos. Farmers bring their buffalos and decorate them with accessories and clothes to grab the attention of visitors. 

The Wet and Wild Buffalo Race 

The festival is participated by at least 130 to 140 buffaloes who are professionally trained to race without getting harmed in wet fields. Different categories of buffalo races are organized in order to bring up the excitement and competition level. A team that participates in the race comprises two buffalos and a rider who is usually the owner of the buffalos. 

The races continue till midnight until the grand finale is done and the winner is announced. Every year a minimum of 20,000 people witnesses the festival. Generally, the festival is celebrated in the month of November and March. 

How to reach

The festival is mainly and largely celebrated in Mangalore which is easily connectable to all the major cities of India. People can easily commute to the city by road, rail or air. 

By Road. Tourists who are planning to travel by road from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru are required to cover nearly 2200, 900, 2200 and 350km respectively. Tourists arriving from other states may also travel to Mangalore via inter-state or intra-state tourist buses. 

By Rail. Mangalore railway station is the connecting point for the city and there are various fast trains available from cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, etc. From the station, one may take local transport such as a taxi or a bus to reach the desired place in Mangalore.  

By Air. Mangalore airport is also quite active and receives frequent flights from all the major cities of the country. One does not need to worry about flight availability because there are regular flights to and from Mangalore airport. 

You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here


  • 1 Day

  • Sports

  • Karnataka
  • Event date

    November 2019 - March 2020

  • Venue

    Mangalore

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