One of the prominent reasons why Kerala has been awarded the name of ‘God’s Own Country’ is the vast stretch of beaches and beautiful backwaters that enhance the beauty of this state. Due to the large number of beaches and backwaters, water sports are extremely popular in this state and one of the most famous water sports in Kerala is boat race, also known as, Vallamkali. Boat races are one of the major reasons which attract tourists from all over the world to this mesmerising state. These Vallamkali boat races provide a boost to the Kerala tourism.
The race course is spread across 1,370 meters, which is divided into numerous tracks for the competition. An amazing fact about this competition is that the boats which take part in them are at least 100 feet long. This race is also known as snake boat race because when the boats move along the tracks, they look like snakes moving around. The oarsmen splash the oars in unison to the rhythmic chants and beats of drums, setting the track on fire.
Some of the most popular Vallamkali boat races Kerala are:
- Champakulam Moolam Boat Race
The entire season of boat races starts with the Champakulam Moolam boat race. This boat race, which is considered to be one of the most popular and one of the most ancient boat races in Kerala, takes place in Champakulam, which is a beautiful village in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.
- Nehru Trophy Boat Race
This boat race, which takes place annually, is conducted on the backwaters of Punnamada in Alappuzha district of Kerala. The name of this boat race is dedicated to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who after visiting this place, was so much impressed with the boat race that he instituted a trophy for this competition – The Nehru Trophy, which is a silver model of a snake boat.
- Aranmula Boat Race
This boat race takes place during the most celebrated festivals of Kerala – Onam. This boat race, which is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna, consists of boats which are decorated with flags and ornamental umbrellas.
- Payippad Jalotsavam
This boat race, which takes place over a period of three days, is considered to be one of the finest boat races in Kerala. It is conducted on the Payippad lake, which is situated 35 km. from the Alappuzha district.
The Snake boat race or Vallamkali highlights the true spirit of the Kerala. If you wish to witness the perfect combination of beauty and fervour, you should definitely attend the boat race or Vallamkali in Kerala.