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Shubhyatra >> Kerala Yatra >>Snake Boat Race


Location : On the backwaters of Alappuzha and Kottayam in Kerala, India
Major Boat Race : The Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Attraction : Racing snake boats carrying 100-150 people
Held In : In the Malayalam month of Midhunam (June-July)

Snake Boat Race - The Joy of Winning

Snake Boat Race ,  Kerala
Snake Boat Race - Kerala

Major Events : Aranmula Uthrattadi Boat Race - Vallamkali during Onam on August September.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha on August 11th.
The Champakulam Moolam Boat Race at Champakulam Lake in Alappuzha on July 10th.
Payippad Jalotsavam at Payippad Lake in Alappuzha on August 28th.
Major Venues : Aranmula Boat Race - Pampa River Aranmula, Chengannur, Nehru Trophy Boat Race - Punnamada Backwaters, Champakulam Boat Race Champakulam, Payippad Boat Race - Payippad.
Other Boat Races Held during Onam Festival : ATDC Boat Race, Alappuzha, Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race, Pulinkunnu, Neerettupuram Boat Race, Kumarakom Boat Race, Karuvatta Boat Race, Kavanattinkara Boat Race, Kumarakom Arpookara Vanitha Jalamela, Kottayam Mahatma Boat Race, Mannar, Thazhathangadi Boat Race,Kottayam, Kottapuram Boat Race, Kodungallur and Kumaranasan Smaraka Jalotsavam, Pallana, the Indira Gandhi Boat Race.
Don't Miss : The thrill of witnessing hundreds of men putting all their effort to sail one single Snake Boat.
Inside Tip : Cheer the participants out of your throat. Be part of the crowd to keep energising the participants.
Staying Options : Houseboats, Heritage Hotels, Deluxe and Star Hotels..

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As they tear off the ribs of the water and break into a graceful glide towards the finish line, their wooden hands sweeping away interferences effortlessly like an electric eel, 'chandanvallams' or snake boats present a wonderful picture. A picture which millions of Malayalis cluster to behold. Plan a post-monsoon (August-September) trip to the coconut land of Southern India and catch the nail-biting action of this unmatched watersport staged on the world famous back-waters of Kerala. The tranquility of the backwaters gives way to nonpareil excitement as the villagers prepare for the Great Boat Races. The event traditionally commemorates the carrying of idols to their abodes in the state's magnificent temples. The 50 m long wooden boats, each powered by over 100 oarsmen, attract the star attention as they slice through the waters - revived by songs and war cries - cheered by thousands of spectators lining the banks.

And Together They Go

You are left with only two options after you engage yourself in the sightings of the grand event of boat race - either you go back and hunt for more of those splendid moments, or plan a next visit to the same backwaters. Truly this water opera offers something that enchants its every beholder. See how the legendary boats take each other on - powered purely by muscle power and traditional village rivalry - that take you back to the scenes of ancient naval warfare, which everything in these watercraft - including the lofty Snake Boats or 'Chundans', so called for their long hulls and steep sterns that reminds one of the raised hood of a cobra - traces its origin to. Spectators cluster on the palm shaded banks holding their breath in insuppressible excitement. The starter's flag comes down with a flourish and the peace of the backwaters collapses to the mighty roar that lacerates out of a thousand throats! Taking a hundred ebony-bodied oarsmen apiece and not less than 15 musicians, the 'chandanvallams' row furiously in tandem towards the finishing line in a tussle for glory, showing a breathtaking synergy of strength and rhythm; a truly memorable spectacle for any visitor.

The Sport of South That Creates 'Soccer Mania' of West

Visit Alappuzha in the Malayalam month of Midhunam (June-July) and you can be a part of the world famous Champakulam Boat Race, which celebrates the arrival of Lord Krishna idol at the Ambalapuzha temple. What a colourful merriment does it portray! Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was once invited for a boat ride from Kottayam to Alleppey. En route, Nehru saw a boat race on Alleppey's Punnamada Lake and got so enthralled that he jumped into the boat that won the race. Eventually, the Punnamada Boat Race became world famous as the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, which is held still today on the second week of August every year. The trophy is a replica of a snake-boat in silver, placed on wooden pedestal on which the following words of Panditji are engraved above his signature.

"To the winner of the boat-race which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore-Cochin".

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Getting There

The best pad to witness the grand event of boat racing is Alappuzha, a thin strip of land sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Punnamada backwaters. Tourists can fly up to Kochi Airport in Nedumbassery and can get a cab to travel the rest 90 km towards south of the state. One can even drive on NH 47, which links Salem to Kanyakumari. If one is willing to travel by bus, reach Alappuzha's KSRTC bus stand, situated at 5 km from the railway junction on NH 47. Nehru trophy boat race is one event that draws large number of tourists to Kerala every year, from all pockets of the world and the government authorities too spend huge volumes of money for the conduct of the boat race.

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Top 5 Highlights of Snake Boat Race

Snake Boat Race

The Excitement On Water
Plan a holiday trip in August-September to the coconut pampered of Southern India and catch the awe-inspiring action of the unmatched boat race staged on the world famous back-waters of Kerala.

Thumbs Up To The Fight
Feel the excitement bubble in you as teams of 100 oarsmen row their snakeboats, their bodies swaying in unison to the rhythm of throat-slicing singing, in one of the most exhilarating water sports of the country.

The Wooden Snakes
Enjoy the spellbinding show of these 50 mt long snake boats or 'chandanvallams', hugely decorated with flowers, shells and coconut leaves and carrying not less than 15 musicians, as they row furiously in tandem towards the finishing line in a tussle for glory, showing a mesmerising synergy of strength and vigour.

The Craziest Extravaganza
Plan a holiday tour to the green patches of Kerala and see how the tranquility of the backwaters springs up to life as the villagers prepare for the Great Boat Races. Feel the festive mood which is no less than the soccer world mania.

Spots of Merriment
To get the best out of the occassion, plan a holiday tour to the backwaters pf Alappuzha and Kottayam in Kerala. Beside beholding the extraordinary performances, one can also enjoy a houseboat ride on the tranquil backwaters of these region.

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