Kerala Festivals - Boat Race

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Kerala Festivals - Boat Race

Boat race reflects the enthusiasm and jubliance of people during the celebration of their main festival, Onam. Various types of boat races will be held and each are distinct from one another. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller crafts participate in these events. The largest team sport in the world, the snake boat race is preceded by colorful water parades.
The snake boat race is the most exciting of all races, which is manned by four helmsmen, 25 singers and 100 - 125 oarsmen. These oarsmen row in unison to the fast rhythm of the Vanchipattu (song of the boatman). Thousands of people crowd the water's edge to cheer the huge black crafts as they slice through the waters to a spectacular finish.

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race
It is the oldest and most popular snake boat race in Kerala that is closely connected to the Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha. The race is held on the Champakulam Lake on the day of the installation of the deity at the Temple. An exotic procession of water floats, boats decorated with colorful parasols and performing arts greets the spectator. The races are held in various stages for various categories of boats.

Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali
Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallomkali is conducted in the Pamba River in front of Sri Parthasarathi Temple. The Aaranmula Boat Race is staged each year in the scenic village of Aaranmula in August/ September. This river carnival is part of the Aaranmula Temple festival. Masses throng the shores of the River Pamba to watch an imposing cluster of snake boats called 'Palliyodams'. Though, large snake boats take part in this festival they do not race with each other. Instead, they row in union, to the accompaniment of songs and reach their destination

Payippad Jalotsavam
The three day annual fiesta on the Payippad Lake, 35 kms from Alappuzha, commemorates the installation of the deity at the Subramanya Swamy Temple, Haripad.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the most colorful water sport in Kerala, is conducted at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha on the second Saturday of every August. Though it is a festival, the attraction about this is the sportive spirits among the participants of the race. In the year 1952, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited the erstwhile Travancore - Cochin. On his way to Alappuzha from Kottayam the people of Alappuzha, escorted by the huge snake-boats, gave him a roaring reception. Having gone through the tremendous excitement of sailing in a snake-boat popularly known as Chundan, Jawaharlal Nehru donated a rolling trophy to the winner. The trophy is a replica of a snake-boat in silver, placed on wooden abacus on which Panditji's signature is inscribed. There are four most important boat races, which are the oldest and most important events. These are Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali, Payippad Jalotsavam and Nehru Trophy Boat Race.