Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

My home town Moodabidri hosted its 13th annual buffalo race also called Koti Chennaya Jodukere Kambala at Kadalakere Nisargadhama on Saturday January 17th. The Kambala or the buffalo race is unique to Udupi & Mangalore districts.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Historically Kambala was the event when farmers paid tribute to their gods for protecting their crops. There used to be lot of celebration and games as part of this festive atmosphere. Some say Kambala also marked the beginning of sowing operations for the second round of crops. Traditionally, there were two types of Kambalas, Pookere Kambala and Bale Kambala. Pookere Kambala is the only variety which survives now.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Kambala is traditionally a simple sport. The Kambala track used for muddy field filled with slush. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, controlled by a racer. Kambala today has become an organized, professional sports. People place massive amounts of bets on the winning buffaloes and one can witness more than 30,000 spectators in a well organized Kambala, egging and cheering the buffaloes to complete the race. As of now, more than 45 races are held annually in Coastal Karnataka. Nearly 18 Kambalas are held under the banner of Kambala Samithi and the rest are held under the auspices of temples, political patronage and aristocratic Bunt households. Kambala still remains a hugely popular sport in Coastal Karnataka.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

This year controversy cropped as early in the season as Supreme court gave a verdict of banning due to cruelty to animals in a similar sport called Jallikattu. Even though Jallikattu was fighting with bulls and was different from Buffalo race like Kambala, Animal Welfare Board declared Kambala also needs to be banned. It asked state government to ban Kambala wehich led to many earlier Kambala events getting cancelled due to orders from authority. Luckily the Karnataka High Court gave green signal for conducting of Kambala, during this season. Justice S. Abdul Nazeer passed the interim order by staying the decisions of the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district administrations, which had denied permission for Kambala. Kambala events restarted after this verdict from 15th Dec 2014 onwards. Since it is an interim order, final decision is yet to take place and is eagerly awaited.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

This large rain water fed track of 145 meters was to witness large number of 163 pairs of Water Buffaloes. On that Saturday huge crowd had gathered to witness this folk sports. I was able to reach the venue only in the evening and for about 2 hours I took the pictures you see here. Nearing Sunset is best time in my opinion for shooting Kambala. Later most of the light will be from the overhead halogen lamps which light up the whole Kambala venue.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

I used my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM fitted to Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This one lens & body combo is so perfectly matched for the low light situation and fast action sports. All the photos here are taken at f/2.8, shutter speed mostly above 1/1000th of second sometimes if light was good going up to 1/4000th of second to freeze the water droplets. ISO was kept on Auto and varied with light condition. I used AI servo mode using the default 5D mark III settings for AI servo which I found works best in a linear race like this. I use AF point expansion with Central point which I can manually focus with assisted 8 surrounding points to help focusing. I did not use central focus point, but chose a point of focus either right or left of the center depending on my composition and angle of approach of the buffalo. Since the Kambala had two tracks (Koti & Chennayaa named after great folk heroes of Tulunadu) this point of focus was changing depending on the direction of shoot.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Kambala races take place in several different categories – Negilu, Hagga, Adda halage and Kene halage are the four broad categories.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Negilu: The runner will hold the plough ( it is not actual plough which is heavy and bulky, it is just a representation of which is tied to pair of buffalo. This type is mostly for the Junior buffaloes or entry level buffaloes. But there is again a junior, senior rounds in this race.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Hagga : A rope is directly tied to the buffalo pair. And this is for Senior buffaloes as the speed is more here and the participating buffaloes are well experienced. This also has a junior, senior levels.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Adda halage : A cross wooden plank is tied to the pair and the runner stands on it while racing. This is just for the senior category.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Kene halage: A round wooden block where the runner stands on it on his single leg. There will be two holes in the block out of which the water forces out while running. The height of the water forcing out is measured to choose the winner. The more the speed is more the water height is. And this is only for senior most category. There are different markers using a white cloth banners. Whichever pair reaches water to these markers is declared a winner. If there are more than one, all those who reached will get prizes

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Kene Halage and Adda Halage are 2 forms of the race which has very few contestants participating and is a vanishing from most Kambala races. Fortunately on this race we had 8 participants from both category. All the extreme water splashed photos you see here are from that category of race.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

There is no fixed rule for size of the track which mostly depends on the availability of the space on the locality. Normally it is between 120 meters to 145 meters long and 8-12 meters wide. There is a thick layer of mud and then water on it. The thumb rule is water is filled in the track so that it completely contains about a feet deep mud. The tracks are called by name so it is easy for communication. In the middle of the track there are two strips of white cloth tied across the track which are used as height measurements for Kene halage races. One gauge is at 9.375 meters which is the highest and the other one is at 8.125 meters.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Kambala is conducted in several parts of two districts Udupi and Mangalore from November to March. It is conducted always on a weekend so that it is possible for most spectators as well as participants all the Kambalas. The race starts usually Saturday morning and goes on all night and finishes Sunday afternoon. The final winners will be rewarded by the officials during the Kambala closing ceremony conducted in Sunday afternoon. It is watched by, on an average 20 to 30,000 spectators in a day.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Since most of the photos of Kambala are from the same angle and view, I wanted to try something different. Here I have concentrated on the men running behind the buffaloes who are as fascinating as the buffaloes themselves. I found them fascinating as the 145 meter slushy muddy track is covered in just 14 -15 seconds by many of these racers which is very close to the 100 meter world record speeds. They are partially using the speeds of the buffaloes to leverage but still running in such a speed in water is quite an effort. Then there are support teams which take care of buffaloes both at the starting point as well as the finishing line.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

Finishing line at the end of the race track (Manjotti)is where all the major excitement of the race takes place. The rider just lets the buffaloes loose as they reach dry ground which is covered in river sand and that is when they may run at the crowd. There are people who control and stop these buffaloes. But if you are in front of it, they may trample on you. My advice is better to be safe than sorry.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015

It is a hit among the tourists and lot of people from different part of city, country travel to see this race. It is not always all that fun to take photographs of Kambala. If you are not careful you may be gored or trampled by charging Buffaloes. There is a barricade made out out of rope at the edge of the track, do not cross that. No flash photography allowed at all as that startles the buffaloes. Do not let your in built flash to pop out also as the volunteers and team owners will throw you out.

Moodabidri Kambala 2015
Moodabidri Kambala 2015
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 200mm | ISO : 800 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/8 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Exposure bias : +1EV | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 26mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/50s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 70mm | ISO : 1250 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/3.5 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 88mm | ISO : 800 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/2000s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 35mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/100s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/3.2 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 70mm | ISO : 2000 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/2000s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 70mm | ISO : 1000 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/3.5 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 200mm | ISO : 1600 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/2000s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Exposure bias : +1/3EV | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 200mm | ISO : 800 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/2000s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/8 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Exposure bias : +1/3EV | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 140mm | ISO : 800 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1600s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Exposure bias : +2/3EV | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 182mm | ISO : 800 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1600s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Exposure bias : +2/3EV | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 125mm | ISO : 800 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1600s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 80mm | ISO : 1000 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 200mm | ISO : 800 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 75mm | ISO : 1000 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 88mm | ISO : 1000 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 200mm | ISO : 1000 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 17 January, 2015 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 70mm | ISO : 1000 | Location : 13° 4.6445′ 0″ N 74° 58.8862′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/1250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.

6 thoughts on “Moodabidri Kambala 2015”

  1. Splendid and very informative post for people like me (who are from different region) to understand the history and background of Kambala. Thank you !!

  2. Very informative write up as usual Dr. Krishi. We tried our hand in Surathkal and this Kambala based on information from your earlier blogs and your help in the form of the timetable without which it is impossible to pinpoint which event is happening at what place. Only the local organizers know the details most of the time and it is a headache to contact them and get details (As it happened, the Surathkal Kambala was not as per schedule and the contact numbers of the organizers available with the Kambla committee were old and not valid). Though we tried our hand in shooting this particular event, we could not get as good photos as you have got. Well done and thanks for all the support.

  3. ಕಂಬಳದ ಪ್ರಾಣಿ ದಯೆಯ ಮಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಹಲವು ವಿಧದ ಸಾಕುಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳನ್ನಿಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡು ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸುವುದು ಬಹಳ ತಪ್ಪಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಶುದ್ಧ ನೈಸರ್ಗಿಕತೆಯನ್ನೇ ಪ್ರತಿಪಾದಿಸುವುದಿದ್ದರೆ ಶುದ್ಧ ವನ್ಯಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳು ಮಾತ್ರ ಇಂದು ಅದೃಷ್ಟಶಾಲಿಗಳು. ಅವನ್ನು ಕೊಲ್ಲುವುದು, ಸಾಕುವುದು ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ಅಪರಾಧಗಳೇ. ಕಂಬಳವೋ ಜಲ್ಲಿಕಟ್ಟೋ ಕೋಳಿಕಟ್ಟವೋ ಟಗರು ಕಾಳಗವೋ ಅನೈಸರ್ಗಿಕವಾಗುವುದಿದ್ದರೆ ಕೋಣವೇ ಸೇರಿದಂತೆ ಜಾನುವಾರುಗಳಿಗೆ ಹಾಕುವ ಮೂಗುದಾರ, ಕೊಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಬಂಧನಾದಿ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸಾಕುವ ಚಟುವಟಿಕೆಗಳೂ ಅಪರಾಧಗಳಾಗಬೇಡವೇ? ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಏಕೆ ಆನೆಕುದುರೆಗಳಿಂದ ತೊಡಗಿ ನಾಯಿ ಬೆಕ್ಕಿನವರೆಗೆ ಕೇವಲ ಅಲಂಕಾರಿಕ ಮತ್ತು ಮೀನು ಮೊಟ್ಟೆಯಿಂದ ತೊಡಗಿ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಮಾಂಸಾಹಾರಕ್ಕಾಗಿರುವ ಸಾಕುಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳನ್ನು `ಘರ್ ವಾಪಸಿ’ ಮಾಡಬೇಕಾಗುತ್ತದಲ್ಲವೇ?

  4. Hi Mohan Sir,
    I am planning to attend Kambala 2016. My Ticket is already booked for Mangalore.
    This tour is for Photography. Do i need to take any Special permission for that.
    Is there any Budget Hotel in Moodabidri.
    Could you Please help me Sir.

  5. Dear Aniket,
    Kambala no permission is needed. All photographers are allowed. No flash photography allowed. Don’t enter into the path of running buffaloes as they don’t have any brakes 😉
    check these hotels, call them and book rooms. All are not very expensive hotels and accommodation are reasonable priced (less than 1K)

    Pancharathna International – 08258-238152
    Nishmitha Towers Lodge – 08258-236395
    Padiwals Tourist Home – 08258-2737065
    Navami Comforts Lodge – 08258-236011
    Hotel Ballal Tourist – 08258-261377

    Thanks for contacting me 🙂

  6. Hello Sir,
    Thanks for your info about Kambala. How to reach the place from Mangalore? Is there any hotels near the palce or We have to stay in Mangalore only? Planning to Visit this year.

    Thanks.

    Have a Good Day,
    Kannan Muthuraman

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