Venue: Punnamada Lake, Alleppey, Kerala, India.
Date: 31 August 2019.
The Picturesque state of Kerala in the South-Western region of India keep possession of its own distinct identity. Boat Races plays an incredible role in the history, culture and tradition of God’s Own Country. Listed among the ten paradises of the world, Kerala is an amazingly beautiful place that makes it every tourist’s dream destination. The state is home to a bunch of stunning traditional festivals. Among them, the Boat Races has gained immense popularity among tourists worldwide. Further, Kerala sets the vista for numerous snake boat races. The Champakkulam Boat Race held at the River Pamba on the 15th July has officially declared the beginning of the season of boat races in Kerala. But let me tell you among all the snake boat races, the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the much-celebrated extravaganza of water in the ‘Land of Coconuts‘, Kerala.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is conducted on the famous Punnamda Lake, Alappuzha, on the second Saturday of August every year. This year the 67th edition of Nehru Trophy Boat Race getting ready to be kicked off on 31st August 2019. Kerala beckons you to be a part!!!
It is reported that the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the race. The Champions Boat League (CBL) will begin along with the Nehru Trophy, and the event will be graced by the presence of Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
On the day of this fiercely fought boat race, the tranquil lake front is transformed into a sea of humanity with an estimated two lakh people, including tourists from abroad for watching it.
Since time immemorial, the second Saturday of August is specially set aside for the Nehru Trophy Boat Race every year. The gleaming Punnamada Lake in Alleppey gets into the celebration mood, days before this tremendous water carnival with the trial race of the snake boats. Nehru Trophy Boat Race is so popular that people flocks from all corners of the world to the banks of Punnamada Lake to witness this spectacular and enthusiastic water sport. It is celebrated every year with much splendour and eminence to commemorate the visit of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India in the year 1952 in Kerala.
History says that during his visit, people from Alleppey came in huge snake boats, traditionally known as ‘Chundan Vallam‘ to bid him welcome. The sight of these beautiful snake boats delighted him very much that he leaps onto one of the boats and sailed to Kottayam from Alleppey. Later, after returning to Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru donated a silver trophy which was a replica of a snake boat as a gift for the memories of the time he spent at the backwaters of Kerala.
To show respect for him, the trophy was named as Nehru Trophy and a boat race is conducted every year to pay a tribute to this event known as Nehru Trophy Boat Race in which the winners are awarded the Trophy named after him.
The 100–120 feet long canoes beautifully decorated with marigold flowers which carry 90-110 rowers moving like a snake through the sparkling backwaters makes for a marvelous spectacle. The air is filled with excitement and enthusiasm as there is stiff competition to win the race. The drum beats, chanting of the boat song known as Vanchipattu, as well as the people cheering with excitement, everything add to the thrill of this water sport. For the rowers and the villagers, it is a matter of pride, winning the race as it is the entire village which is honored by the win. Hence, they compete fiercely and put their best efforts in the race.
We all have witnessed how Kerala, like a phoenix bird rising from the ashes, has revived from the devastating flood that hit its shores the previous year. Due to the flood crisis, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race was postponed to 10th November last year and was celebrated with great exuberance and grandeur which showcased the brilliant come back of the flood-hit Kerala. Eighty-one boats took part in the race, among them 25 were Chundan Vallam (snake boats) and the rest were Cheru Vallam(small boats). And the Payippadan Chundan was proclaimed as the winner of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race 2018. This year also the Government of Kerala is all set to organize it very grandly.
The specialty of this year’s Nehru Trophy Boat Race is that to perk up the vibrancy of the event, State Government employees are competing in the race as “Civil Service Boat Club“. The team includes those employees who got government job through sports quota, sportsperson in state government service and those who are natives of Kuttanad, a picturesque village cum backwater destination in Alleppey. The Civil Service Boat Club is set up to honor the priceless service rendered by the government employees at the time of the flood in Kerala.
Like all the traditional festivals of Kerala, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is worthy to experience. Be a part of this spectacular event and experience it yourself with its thrill and excitements.
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport, about 84 Km.
Nearest Railway Station: Alleppey Railway Station, about 6.3 Km.
Nearest Bus Station: Alleppey Bus Station, about 2.6 Km.
Witness one of the most thrilling water carnivals you would have ever enjoyed in your lifetime and shouldn’t miss at any cost if you are exploring Alleppey, Kerala this August 2019.
Come and explore the most famous Snake Boat Race in India and witness Kerala’s greatest spectacular and enthusiastic event on your trip during the month of August to November and book your customized Kerala tour packages with Indian Panorama.