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Boat Race in Kerala

Nehru Trophy Boat Race :
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most famous of the boat races of Kerala. This annual regatta is held on the Punnamada Backwaters of Alappuzha district on the second Saturday of August.

The event is a commemoration of the visit to this place by the late Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1952.

On the great waterways of Kerala, fierce Vallom Kallies (boat races) and water carnivals erupt every year in a dramatic spectacle and hold tens of thousands of people spell-bound, cheering the action, laying bets, goading the boatmen to row faster.

At Aranmula on the Pamba River in the Kuttanad region, at Papiyad near Quilon, at Thayathangadi near Kottayam, the water carnivals and snake boat races herald the week of the great harvest festival of Onam. It is Kerala's most important celebration and in scores of villages spread across central Kerala, competitive races featuring the smaller churulans, oadis, and irrutukuthies provide expression to the spirit of an intrepid, athletic people, born and bread near water.

Over the years, roads, railways and aircraft have stifled the romance of river traffic and inland water warfare has passed into the annals of history. But for the boatmen of Kerala, the romance of the boat races during the boat festivals is still alive and they think in nostalgic term as their boats glide to some favorite shrine in the soft, muted light of the morning.

The stately snake boats of Aranmula form part of a hoary temple ritual. In days gone by, it is said, bandits once plundered a small boat carrying offerings to a Krishna temple. Lord Krishna, goes the legend, appeared before the distraught devotee in a dream and advised him to build larger boats which, when rowed by a hundred to hundred and fifty oarsmen, could glide swiftly and outstrip any pirate, and so the speedy chundan or snake boat was designed. This legend forms the basis for the snake boat races and boat festivals of Kerala.

The snake boats take shape in the skilled hands of inspired shipwrights or master boat builders - proud guardians of time honored boat-building techniques conscientiously passed on from father to son. Everything is handmade and crafted with great care by the shipwrights. Volunteers from the community are willing assistants and thousands throng the water's edge to watch the first critical trial run of a new boat.

For both the spectators and the boat crews of the snake boat races during the boat festivals of Kerala, the finishing moment of the boat race in Kerala is supreme. The snake boats, their pennants whipped by the wind, cut a shimmering swathe through.

Fauna :
It houses elephants, tigers, panthers, jungle cats, civet cats, monkeys, wild dogs, bisons, deer, bears, Monitor lizards and a variety of snakes are seen.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race :
Indira Gandhi Boat Race is a grand fest on the rolling backwaters of Kochi. Conducted in the last week of December, it is a fitting finale to the Tourism Fair, which attracts travellers from all parts of the globe.

The sixteen majestic snake boats racing neck to neck in gaiety and competition to the sky-rending cheers of the multitudes, is a unique sight. The coveted trophy of the race was instituted in memory of Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India.

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race :
The festive season of boat races commences with the event of Champakulam Moolam Boat Race held every year in the first week of July. It is the oldest and one of the most popular snake boat races in Kerala.

Aranmula Boat Race :
The Aranmula Boat Race is a two-day festive event rather than a sports competition. It is held in strict adherence to traditions during the festival of Onam

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