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 their owners or farmers.
The Kambala festival of Mangalore 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 in India
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. This buffalo race of Karnataka 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.
Major Attractions of Kambala Festival 2023 in Karnataka
1. 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.
2. 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 Mangalore for Kambala Festival 2023
Mangalore besides being a port city and a major commercial city down south is also known for its mesmerizing tourist attractions which include ancient temples, Panambur Beach, Kadri Hill Park, New Mangalore Port, Milagres Church, Mangladevi Temple, museums, and a lot more. From Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, Mangalore is located at a distance of nearly 2,200, 900, 2,200, and 350 km respectively. You can easily arrive here by roadways, railways, or airways. Continue reading to find out some best and economical travel options.
By Road. You may travel to Mangalore via inter-state or intra-state tourist buses. One-way bus fare from Bangalore to Mangalore starts from Rs.450. You may also self-drive to the city if you are passionate about driving. There are well-developed National and State Highways that will connect you to Mangalore.
From Mysuru you can take NH 275 to cover a stretch of 255km to reach Mangalore, from Kochi NH 66 to cover the distance of 440km, from Coimbatore 460km via NH 275, from Hyderabad 820km VIA NH 44, and from Udupi 60km via NH 66.
By Rail. Mangaluru Junction railway station is the connecting point for the city and there are various fast trains available from cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Chennai, etc.
Arriving from Delhi you may consider traveling by Navyug Express, or Kerla S Kranti, from Mumbai; Mangalore Express or Netravati Express, from Pune; Poorna Express, from Bengaluru Junction; Kannur Express, or Gomteshwara Express, from Chennai; West Coast Express, from Coimbatore: Intercity Express and from Hyderabad; KCG MAQ Express. 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.
IndiGo and SpiceJet offer non-stop flights from Delhi to Mangalore with one-way fare starting from Rs.5000, from Mumbai you can pick IndiGo, SpiceJet, or Air India for their non-stop flights. From Kolkata, there are majorly connecting flights with a stopover at Bengaluru Airport. From Bengaluru Airport you may travel via SpiceJet or IndiGo airlines by their non-stop flights.