Kambala, a popular race event in Karnataka, is often compared to Jallikattu, but the way the two rituals are conducted is vastly different.
||Jallikattu is a rural bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu on Mattu Pongal day (mid-January).
The word 'Jallikattu' is derived from the Tamil words Jalli and Kattu, which mean silver or gold coins tied to the horns of the bulls as the prize money.
There are three variants of the sport - Vati Manju Virattu, Veli Virattu and Vatam Manjuvirattu.
|Kambala is an annual buffalo race held between November and March by the farming community in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, and in areas bordering Kerala.
It's organised at different times during this period in different areas of the state.
Earlier, winners used to be given coconuts. But now, gold medals and - in some places - trophies are awarded.
||In Vati Manju Virattu, participants attempt to hold on to bulls for a specified amount of time or distance.
In Veli Virattu, bulls are released into an open ground and competitors try to control the animals.
And in Vatam Manjuvirattu, bulls are tied to long ropes, and a team of players tries to control them.
|Kambala is organised on two parallel racing tracks which are ploughed into a muddy field, and made slushy with water.
They're normally about 120 to 160 metres long and eight to 12 metres wide.
Two pairs of buffaloes tied to ploughs and guided by racers compete to reach the finish line first.
The racers beat the animals with a stick to make them run, and can make them cover up to 100 metres in 2 seconds. The races continue overnight, and happen in stages until a grand finale decides the winner in a particular region.
The Kambala festival begins with an inaugural ceremony, and a parade of the participating farmers along with their prized buffaloes.
|Reason for controversy
Opponents of jallikattu say it's a cruel, violent sport which involves tormenting a frightened animal in an arena.
The Supreme Court banned the sport in 2014, and animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment on Animals (PETA) was one of the organisations on whose petitions the apex court decided to outlaw it.
And in the years preceding the ban, bull owners took to feeding the bulls arrack and rubbing chili on the animals' bodies to increase their aggression.However, some jallikattu supporters deny that such practices occur.
|Kambala was banned last year after PETA approached the Karnataka High Court, citing animal cruelty in bull taming and buffalo racing.
The high court had earlier stayed this event in view of the apex court's verdict on jallikattu.
Bull baiting was common among the ancient tribes who lived in the 'Mullai' geographical division of the ancient Tamil country.
It became a opportunity for men to display their bravery, and prize money was introduced for entertainment.
Sangam literature, nearly 2,000 years old, talks about 'eru thazhuvuthal' — hugging the bull — as a rite of passage for a man seeking a girl's hand in marriage.
|According to one belief, Kambala originated in Karnataka's farming community around 800 years ago. The festival is dedicated to Kadri's Lord Manjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It's believed that the recreational sport is organised to appease the gods for a good harvest.
Another belief holds that it's the sport of the royal (Landlord) family.