Boat Races are very popular in Kerala and attract team from all fronts of life including common man, fisherman to the sports personnel. The boat race is associated with the major festival of 'Onam' and is held during the period of August- September. The boat race is a major event with its competitive spirit and enthusiasm and is one of the largest team sport.
The colourfully designed and decorated boats with thousands of spectators and the overwhelming songs known as 'vanchi pattukal' in Malayalam make it a spectacular event.
The boat race is associated with the special snake boats or chundan, the length of which varies anywhere between 100 & 130 feet with more than 100 rowers. The participants start preparing for this race months before the event. They practices day and night and stays together to ensure proper coordination as a team on the day of the racing. The people flock to cheer the players as they glides through the waters to a spectacular finish. The speed of the boat depends entirely on the efficiency of handling the oar.
There are various boat races like , of which Nehru trophy boat race, Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali and Payippad Jalotsavam are significant and dates to olden days.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Nehru Trophy boat race is named after the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as he awarded a rolling trophy for this race as a token in appreciation of the grand reception he received on his way from Kottayam to Alapuzha in 1952. This race is held every year on the second Saturday of August at Punnamada Kayal in alapuzha. Nehru trophy is well-known for its snake shaped trophy.
On the day of race, these boats were polished and decorated and made ready to touch the waves. The team worships before they plunge into the water with full of enthusiasm and excitement to touch the deadline. The coordination among the team accompanied by the songs and the roaring of the spectators marks a great event.
Champakulam Moolam Boat Race
This race is held on the â€˜champakulam lakeâ€™ to commemorate the installation of the deity at the Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple. This event also organizes various competitions for different categories of boats.
Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali
This is a part of Aranmula temple festival on the river â€˜Pambaâ€™. Large number of snake parts take part in this race but they didnâ€™t compete with each other. They row in a unison with songs and reach their destination.
This vallamkalli (boat race) is held in the memory of installation of â€˜Haripad Subramanya Shetramâ€™ on the payippad lake. It is organized for three days starting from the day of Onam. The snake boat processions are showcased for first two days and the competition takes place only on the third day.
This sport with definite coordination and spirit of competition with religious significance makes it an unforgettable and spectacular event.