Friday, March 15, 2013


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Seeing the Kambala was a first timer for me. With the help of Mr.Santosh Kundeshwar, we (Mr.Satish and myself) went to Udupi to see this exciting sport.

We left Bangalore on 1st of Feb by Sugama travels. The initial sightseeing trip of Bangalore with many traffic jams and chaos of the city came to an end around 11.30PM, where the bus entered the highway. And from here onwards it was a pleasant journey .

The cool breeze and the clean roads of Udupi welcomed us at 6.30AM , had a refreshing Hot cup of Coffee at a nearby restaurant and checked into the Hotel.
Our first visit was to St.Mary's Island.

St.Mary's Island :

St. Mary's Islands also known as Coconut Island are a set of four small islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe in Udupi, Karnataka, India. They are known for their distinctive geological formation of columnar basaltic lava. The hexagonal stones are not to be missed.

According to folk legend, in the year 1498, Vasco da Gama landed at St. Mary's Islands on his voyage from Portugal to India, fixed a cross on the island and named one of these islands, as a dedication to Mother Mary. It is from this name that the islands have got their current name.

The western coasts of the islands are a seashell haven with seashells of various shapes and sizes littered along the coast. There is sand beach to sit and relax and is scatted with basaltic rocks. There are also flat slabs to sit and enjoy the serenity of the place. The beach has security guards who ensure that visitors do not venture into danger zones of the islands. Watching Sun set at the Islands is also a special sight

Fauna at the Islands : Large colonies of Gulls, Brahminy and Black kites, Egrets, Crows etc., along with Crabs 

Tips for Visitors :

1. You have to take a boat from Malpe fishing Harbour, and the availability depends on the number of tourists. Generally they dont operate, if tourists are less.
2. Cost per head is Rs 100/- (up and down)
3. Do not litter the place .
4. Malpe is around 10km from Udupi

The cool breeze and the hot sun was a nice mixture. Sweating and doing photography was another. 

 After roaming in the beach, it was time to go back to Udupi, as we had to go to Katapadi to see the village sport.

Kambala (Kannada : ಕಂಬಳ )  is an annual Bullock race held traditionally under the  local land lords and households (Aramane,Beedu,Guthu/Mane, Dodmane) or Patel of village, in coastal Karnataka ,India. The Kambala season generally starts in November and lasts until March.

Generally, the length of the track is between 100-150 m in length and around 8-12 m,  in width.

The Kambala was held on, 2nd Feb of 2013. Ourselves (Mr. Satish and Myself) were about to witness a beautiful sport, which I had never seen before. The whole Fun and Experience of Kambala was a first timer for me.

The sad thing is that, these animals are whipped royally from their masters. 

Negilu( ನೇಗಿಲು : Plough)  category:  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. 

Hagga ( ಹಗ್ಗ: rope)  category : 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( ಅಡ್ಡ ಹಲಗೆ: cross wooden block ) category : 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 (ಕಣೆ  ಹಲಗೆ: round wooden block)    : 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.

The runner:

They are also specially trained people and one can easily spot them in the crowd. They are handsome, nicely shaped and very athletic . As one can guess they are like sport persons. 

The owners hire them and ask them to run all of their pairs of buffaloes. One runner might get multiple deals from different owners depending on his popularity. A good runner is paid heavily and if he wins the bonus is also paid. 

The training of buffaloes:

To train the racing buffaloes, owners build a track near their  home and make them run daily . The owners feed them with most nutritious foods and take care of these animals very well. During races they even get fruits like apples , oranges . They get special massages , some body treatments as well.

People Watching the sport.

 Sometimes, during the start of the race, these bulls get scared by seeing any obstructing thing/persons near it. It resists to step forward. At this time around 8-10 caretakers of the bull find it a hard time to pacify them and make it run again.

At times, these bulls are in great speed and the master loses control of them. Here is one such incident, where the master is falling down.

Tips for Photographers :

1. Usage of a lens that covers both wide angle and a decent amount of telephoto is a better option.
    Eg : 18-105mm, 70-300mm etc,

(All my pictures are shot with Nikon D90 + Nikon 18-105mm VR lens)

2. Never get too close to the bulls, as it may be dangerous to you and your equipment.

3. The mud / water might splash on the camera

4. Anticipate the action that is happening, and do not take any risk for the sake of getting good pictures.

5. The bulls might run anywhere when it is panicked, so be prepared.

Day 2 :

Kaup Beach :

Kaup, pronounced as Kapu in the local Tulu language, is a village or a small town in Udupi district of Karnataka, India. It lies on the way between Udupi and Mangalore

Many films have been shot at this location. The recent one being Kannada's "Simpallaag ondu Love Story"

The kapu light house was built in 1901 and has for these many years stood on the rocks guiding thousands of sailors and warning the presence of dangerous rocks.

The best time to visit Kapu is either during sunrise or sunset. It gets too hot during the day.

Udupi :

Udupi is known for the Krishna Mutt (Temple of Lord Krishna) and also native place of the Vaishnavite saint Shri Madhvacharya who founded the Krishna Mutt in the 13th century.

These are known as the Ashta Matha. These Mathas are Pejavara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura.

A young priest performing daily rituals on the edge of the Kalyani.

These are known as the Ashta Matha. These Mathas are Pejavara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura

The daily sevas (offerings to god) and administration of the Krishna Mutt are managed by the Ashta Mathas (eight temples). Each of the Ashta Mathas performs Mutt management activities for two years in a cyclical order. During the Paryaya festival, held every two years, the Mutt management is handed over to the next Matha. Each of the Mathas is headed by a Swami, who will be in charge of the Mutt during his Paryaya.

Udupi Temple Complex at Night.

Theppotsava which is held in the Kalyani during the evening time

Not to Miss at Udupi (for Food Lovers) :

1. Goli Baje (Mangalore Bajji) , Avalakki , Masala Dosa and Godhi(wheat) burfee at Mitra Samaja hotel
2. Gadbad ice creams
3. Tasty food at the temple

Thank you

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