Snake Boat Race
Snake Boat Race is glorified as the pride of Kerala. Furthermore, boat races are a remarkable part of the culture and tradition of God's Own Country since time immemorial. Apart from the houseboats, waterfalls, beaches, hill stations, historical monuments, and wildlife, the boat race in Kerala has gained immense popularity among the tourists all around the globe. As the natural beauty of Kerala admires you, the snake boat race of Kerala offers you an aura of most thrilling and exhilarating experience of all time.
Snake Boat Race - Kerala
The traditional boat races in Kerala are locally known as "Vallam Kali" and is popular all around the world as Snake Boat Race. It got its name because of the length of the boats used in the boat race. A typical snake boat has a length of 100 to 120 feet and can hold up to 100 rowers.
And these snake boats are locally known by the name "Chundan Vallam". The traditional snake boat race is a form of canoe racing in which paddled war canoes are used and it is the most vigorous and community-oriented water sports in India. Kerala hosts boat races of various kinds in its backwaters every year.
Each boat races has its own story of origin along with a lot of legendary tales and mythological tales attached to it. In ancient times, the disputes between kings and chiefs were settled by boat races. The history of snake boat of Kerala dates back to 400 years. The snake boats were created and used in Kuttanad which is a vast backwater belt of Alappuzha district.
Each of the villages in this region owns their own snake boat which they take great pride in and are keen to compete in races. The history behind the snake boat race goes like this. And the story is about the feudal kingdoms of Kayamkulam and Chembakassery, who used to fight with each other in boats along the backwaters. King Devanarayana of Chembakassery, who suffered great losses tasked a famous carpenter for the construction of a war boat named "Chundan Vallam".
Thus, the snake boat was created with much success. The opposing king sent a spy to learn the secret of making these snake boats but was unsuccessful because the subtleties of the design were very hard to pick up. Even today, boat races are held with much excitement and full glory without affecting its old charm.
Boat Races are mainly conducted during the season of harvest festival, Onam, which is the prime festival of Kerala. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most prestigious boat race among all other boat races in Kerala which is one of the popular tourist attractions in Kerala.
This boat race is primarily held in the memory of the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. And it is conducted on the second Saturday in the month of August every year in the Punnamada Lake in Alleppey. The huge boats cruising through the backwaters of Kerala and the sight of the men rowing the snake boats is a remarkable experience to watch.
Chanting of the boat songs known as Vanchipattu along with the drum beats builds the ambience for a perfect event. Music and folk dance performances, and other activities during the boat race impart a festive mood all around. Millions of visitors both domestic as well as international, come here to witness this spectacular event. To achieve victory in this race is a matter of pride to the villagers. Hence, all the rowers put their best efforts and compete fiercely to win the race thereby bring glory for their villages.