Considered to be one of the richest cultures in the world, a tour to Kerala reveals many of the best kept secrets of India. The entirety of "God's Own Country" as Kerala is also known, is a tourist's paradise with the famed backwaters of Kerala taking one of the most popular roles in the tourism in India. The rich heritage of Kerala also finds reflection in the various folk tales, legends and myths which surround almost all the parts of this tropical paradise. This in turn influences the various rituals and festivals in Kerala, with a number of the festivals which are celebrated in Kerala bearing resemblance to some of the myths and legends of Kerala. One of this is the Payippad Boat Race, a festival which combines the rich folklore as well as the natural abundance of the land to perfection.
Time for celebrating the Payippad Boat Race
The Payippad Boat Race, being one of the most popular boat races in Kerala is an elaborate three days affair, which generally takes place during the months of August or, September. The festival which is generally celebrated in the Payippad Lake, in Haripad, a picturesque region, about 35 kilometers away from the district of Alleppey or, Alappuzha is one of the most colorful festivals of Kerala.
Description of the Payippad Boat Race
Bearing a close resemblance to one of the best loved legends of Kerala, the Payippad Boat Race is homage to two of the most revered deities of Kerala, Lord Sree Ayyappan as well as Lord Subramanya. The legend relates that the people of the Haripad Village once decided to build a Sree Ayyappan temple in the premises of their village.
However, just before the temple was about to be begun, the villagers has a vision that the idol of Sri Subramanya Swami should be installed in the temple. The vision also stated that the idol would be found in the Kayamkulam River, within which a whirlpool would be formed which would serve as the temporary abode of the God. True to the words of the vision, the villagers found the Subramanya Vigraha in the whirlpool of the Kayamkulam River, which they ceremoniously brought back to their village. The journey of the idol was accompanied by countless devotees in a number of well decorated colored boats.
It is this incident, which is ceremoniously enacted every year for three days during the Payippad Boat Race in Kerala.