Alleppey Houseboats- Alleppey Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Kerala boat race festivals, history of snake boat races in kerala.
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1, The Nehru Trophy Boat Race (Event Date: August 10, 2019)

In 1952 the honorable Prime Minister of India, late Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru called on Kerala and enjoyed a graceful cruise in the centre deck of the Marshal Boat from Kottayam to Alleppey. As part of the visit, the state government arranged a boat race of the Chundan boats with the co-operation and participation of the local community. Mr. Nehru was so fascinated by this spectacular event that he jumped on to the deck of the winner boat, which was the Nadubhagom Chundan and congratulated them.

On his return to New Delhi he send a rosewood Chundan replica adorned with silver trimming to the State and this trophy is being awarded to the winners of the boat race every year in the commemoration of India's first Prime minister. The first winner of this 'Prime Minister's' trophy was ‘ Kavalam Chundan' on its race at the Kinakari Vattakkayal. From 1955 onwards the boat races were held at the Punnamada Lake and the winner was Parthasarathi Chundan. Since then this boat race is being held at the Punnamada Lake on the 2nd Saturday of August every year.

Nehru-Trophy-Boat-Race, Alleppey-Snake-Boat-Race

Nehru Trophy Boat Race Venue

2, Chambakkulam Boat Race (Event Date: 15 July 2019)

The oldest and the most popular Chundan boat race in Kerala is held on the Chembakkulam Lake on the Moolam day of the Malayalam month Midhunam. This event is closely connected to Sri Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha. Legends say that Maharaja Devanarayana of Chempakasseri built a temple at Ambalappuzha following the instruction of the Royal Priest. But just before the installation of the deity the King was informed that the idol was not auspicious. The king was disturbed, but his minister suggested an inspiring solution of placing in the newly constructed temple, the beautiful idol of Sree Krishna - presented to Arjuna by the Lord himself, from the Karikulam temple in Kurichi. The minister with a few others went to Kurichi, met the authorities there and returned with the idol. On the way back they stopped at Champakulam to spent the night and perform rituals or “pooja”. The next morning, boats from the entire region assembled to escort the idol in a colorful, ceremonial procession through the lake to the temple.

In this little land where every event is made into festivals and celebrations, this event is also commemorated and celebrated every year as Champakulam Moolam Boat race.

Chambakkulam-Boat-Race

Chembakulam Moolam Boat Race

3, Aranmula Boat Race (Event Date: 15 September 2019)

The Aranmula Uthrattathi Boat Race conducted is during Onam . The event is a re-enacting of the legend involving a devoted Brahmin who made a votive offering of feeding one pilgrim a day. One day Sree Krishna himself appeared to him and the overjoyed Brahmin vowed to offer 51 measures of rice and all the provisions for the thiruvonam sadya (the sumptuous Onam feast) at the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Once, the Thiruvonachilavuthoni (the boat carrying the offerings) was intercepted by rivals from another village, but the Brahmin's own villagers came to the rescue on snake boats. From then on, the offering was escorted by a fleet of palliyodams (large, luxurious snake boast used by gods and royalty).

This event is marked by a colorful water carnival and procession on the lake with children dressed as nymphs and princesses. On the second day of celebration, snake boats decorated with silken parasols, carrying helmsmen, oarsmen and singers assemble near the temple early in the morning and then move away in pairs, creating magnificent pageant. The boat race proper is held in the afternoon.

Aranmula-Uthrattadi-Boat-Race

Aranmula Uthrattadi Boat Race

4, Payippad Boat Race (Event Date: 13 September 2019)

The Payippad boat race which lasts for three days commemorates the installation of the deity at the Subramanya Swamy Temple. The legend is that the people of the village decided to build a temple with Sree Ayyappa as the presiding deity. After the temple was ready, they had a vision directing them to a whirlpool in the Kayamkulam Lake from where found the idol and placed ceremoniously to the temple. Devotees from the entire region in colorfully decorated boats escorted the idol. This happend on the Thiruvonam day of the Malayalam month of Chingam. And every year this day boat race and spectacular water pageants are organized with water floats, decorated boats, performing arts, children in fancy attires etc.. Vanchipattu is a characteristic feature of these processions. The event draws hundreds of thousands of spectators from all over.

Payippad-Boat-Race

Payippad Jelotsavam Venue

Other Boat Races

1, Rajeev Gandhi Boat Race

This boat race is held to commemorate the visit of the former Prime Minister Mr.Rajeev Gandhi to the state during 1984. The Chief Minster of Kerala Mr. K. Krunakaran donated this Trophy.

2, Mannar Boat Race

This is the only boat race dedicated in the name of Mahathma Gandhi, father of our nation since 1970.

3, Malakkara Avittam Boat Race, Kozhencherry

4, Ayiroor Puthiyakavu Boat Race, Kozhencherry

This is the boat race conducted by the Ayiroor puthiyakavu grama panchayath. Only Palluyodams participate in this.

5, Neerattupuram Boat Race, Thiruvalla

This is held since 1957 in memorial of K.C. Mamen Mappilai the first publisher in Kerala. Chundan, Veppu, Oddy and Company boats participate in this race.

6, Thazhathangaddy Boat Race, Kottayam

Conducted by a local club.

7, Kumarakom Boat Race, Kottayam

This is to commemorate the visit of Sree Narayana Guru a social reformist, to Kutanadu.

8, Karuvatta Boat Race, Harippad

Conducted by a local club.

9, Mother Theresa Boat Race, Kayamkulam

This is the boat race in the name of Mother Theresa and has been...

10, Kumaranashan Memorial Boat Race, Pallana.

This is the boat race in the name of the great poet of Kerala..