Kerala is a wonderful place that is located in the southern part of India and is known for its tourist places. Every year thousands of international and national tourists visit the state and the number is growing day by day. This state is located between the western ghats and Arabian sea and is a place for numerous resources. The unique factor about this state is that the tourist attractions, destinations, festivals and celebrations that take place throughout the year at one or the other part of the state. and tourists from different places of the country and the world come and visit this heavenly place to watch the boat races.

Kerala is a synonymous state with heavenly beauty, rejuvenation, Ayurvedic treatments etc. When it comes to fun with excitement, Kerala stand at the top of other states. The boat races in Kerala are very famous and are known to entertain people for years. The boat races of Kerala boost the spirit of the younger generation people. It is the largest team sport in the country and the world, that is preceded by multi-color water parades. The boat races are generally organized during the Onam season, where one can experience extremes of joy, fun and excitement. The boat races held every year are the ultimate fun that gives an opportunity to explore the colorful life of the state.

Boat races are an integral part of Kerala's tradition and festivities. These races are held at various locations throughout the state. The Snake Boat Race is the most impressive and famous amongst all boat races. The Snake boat is called the Chundan Vallam in the local language and is rowed by almost 90 to 100 rowers at a time. Also, the snake boats are around 100 to 120 feet long. Watching all these rowers rowing the boat with perfect synchronization is a treat to the eyes.

Types of Boats

Different types of boats are used for the purpose of boat races. These boats are specially designed and can accommodate a large number of people. The most commonly used boats can be categorized into - Churulan Vallam, Odi Vallam, Iruttukuthy Vallam, Vadakkanody Vallam, Veppu Vallam (Vaipu Vallam), Kochu Vallam etc. Of these boats, Chundan Vallam also known as snake boat draws the attention of a number of tourists and people coming from different parts of the world. The massive size of the boat is its unique feature that makes it look different from other type of boats. The snake boats are very long and resemble like a snake and are known for their speed and durability. Due to their length, it can accommodate more than 100 oarsmen to propel them.

Snake Boat races

The most famous of the Snake Boat races is the Nehru Trophy boat race which is held annually on the second Saturday of August at the Alleppey Punnamda Lake. It came to be known as the Nehru Trophy boat race because Pandit Nehru got so impressed with the race that he awarded the Nehru Trophy to the winners. Since then, this race has been held annually and winners are awarded with the Nehru Trophy. Boat races are also a common sight during different festivals in Kerala. The boats are colorfully decorated with flowers and garlands. Attending and cheering any boat race is a unique experience of the tourists who visit Kerala. Other than the snake boat races, there are other boat races also that take place at various rivers and lakes of Kerala. Tourists who are planning to visit Kerala are advised to plan their trip by considering the dates of boat race in Kerala, so that they can make their tour more enjoyable and memorable.

The snake boat races of Kerala exhibit a great team spirit and integration. The amity of the people who take part in the boat races is praise worthy. Usually, the snake boat races are controlled by 100-125 oarsmen along with 25 singers and 4 helsmen. The oarsmen row the boat in unison fashion to meet the fast rhythm of the song of the boatman. To cheer the black crafts, thousand of people gather along the side of the riverbanks.

Boat races are held in different parts of Kerala including – Payippad, Kumarakarm, Aranmula, Karuvatta, Kottayam, Kavanattinkara etc. Some of the renowned forms of boat races are – ATDC, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Champakulam etc. During the boat races, the riverbanks are packed with people. To enjoy their traditions and art form of the state, boat races are the best options. These races are organized particularly, during the month of temple festivals, as it serves the ‘aura’ of spiritual sanctity. The boat races are related to different legends and myths of ancient times.

Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race

This is a kind of boat race in Kerala that is held in Pulinkunnu and on the backwater of Alleppey. This boat race is held two weeks after the snake boat race and is held in the memory of late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. The visitors will surely enjoy the race. Among different beaches of the state including – Kappil beach, Alappuzha, Kizhunna Ezhara Beach etc, the Kovalam beach entertains the tourists very much. Honeymooners from different countries of the world are enticed by the beaches with glistering sand, palm trees, and boat races of Kerala. The boat races truly attract the tourists for their fun and excitement.

Best Time for Boat Races

If you are planning to visit Kerala for watching the boat races, then it is better to know the dates in advance. Tourists can plan a family outing to watch the boat races, sail through the backwaters and spend their time in the houseboats. Other than this, there are numerous activities that entertain the tourists throughout their trip. The boat races of Kerala start in the month of August or September in different regions of the state. The dates of the boat races vary from one place to the other and takes place in different months of the year. Hence, the tourists can enjoy the boat races if they plan in advance.

Kind of Boat Races in Kerala are:

  1. Champakkulam Boat Race
  2. Aranmula Boat Race
  3. Payippad Boat Race
  4. Nehru Trophy Boat Race
  5. Rajiv Gandhi Trophy Boat Race
  6. Neerattupuram Boat Race
  7. Thiruvalla, Pamba Boat Race
  8. Haripad, Karuvatta Boat Race, and
  9. Mannar Boat Race


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