Kambala – The Buffalo Race pictures were taken in Moodbidri near Mangalore , Karanataka , India.
This Event is called Kambal, Historically Kambala was an event where farmers paid tribute to their gods for protecting their crops.


There were many celebrations and games as part of this festive atmosphere.


Kambala is traditionally a simple sport. The Kambala track is a muddy field filled with slush and water. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, controlled by a racer. Where riders go 1:1 with other buffalo riders.


Initially started as a Fun sport over 1000 years ago now is a sport for Pride&Money. In olden days, the winning pair of buffaloes was rewarded with coconuts and a bunch of goodies and nowadays, gold coins, silver coins are given.



I used my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM fitted to Canon EOS 7D. Most of the photos are taken at f/4.5-5.6, shutter speed at 1/400th of second. Kept the ISO on Auto.


Track Length == 141m
Approx Time of Finish == ~15secs
Speed == ~32- 35 km/h


The Buffalo’s run so fast , the rider needs to be super fit and athletic to tame them. Below is one incident where the buffalo went out of balance and went down into the muddy water with his rider.


Kambala races take place in several different categories.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kane 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.
DHP_0794-00523 DHP_0828_1-00123 DHP_1030_2-00223 DHP_1119_1-00423 DHP_1170_1-00323
Youtube Link to a 15sec clip of the race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnkuQbNeRm4
Thanks to Krishna Mohan from http://www.drkrishi.com/ for details on the event and location.

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