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Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Named after India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is organized every year on the second Saturday of August, on the tranquil waters of Punnamda Lake. One of the most popular attractions of Kerala, this boat race turns the otherwise serene lake into a sea of people. The festival is attended by around 2 lakh people including locals as well as foreigners.

An important part of the history of the state, this feisty snake boat race is an eagerly awaited event. When Pandit Nehru visited Kerala in 1952, he attended a snake boat race. Extremely impressed, he announced a trophy for the winner and thus was found Nehru Boat Race.

Beautifully adorned with silk parasols and flags, Chundan Vallam or the snake boat traverses through the waters of the lake. Originally, the snake-shaped boats were used in battles, and used to measure between 60-65 m. These boats have the capacity to carry over 100 passengers.

At the time of the race, every boat has 95 oarsmen, 10 cheerleaders or nilakkar, 5 controllers or amarakkar. High-energy songs or Vanchipattu with catchy rhythm are sung continuously by around 10 singers who are present on-board to keep the spirits high. The theme of these songs is mythological and religious. Other than the snake boats, other indigenous boats like Churulan, Iruttukuthy, and Vaipu also participate in this boat race. Preparations and practice for the boat race start a month in advance. Read more...