Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Snake Boat Races in Kerala – An Exhilarating Experience

Kerala, dotingly known as God’s own country, is the land of exotic beauty. A heaven in its own right, it invites each one to experience its rich culture, fascinating architecture, health boons, lip smacking food, enigmatic art forms and well-educated hospitable people. Kerala’s colorful dances, intriguing history, healing ayurveda and enchanting festivals hold equal importance of their own.

Kerala is a land of many festivals around the year such as Onam, Vishu, Thiruvathira, Thrikarthika, and Thrissur Pooram. All the festivals are celebrated with revived enthusiasm and fervor every year, which attract a great number of tourists form all across the globe.

One of the major festivals celebrated with pomp and show in this God’s own country is Snake Boat Race, thanks to the amazing backwaters that line the state. These backwaters provide ample venue for the splendid Snake Boat Races in Kerala which translates into an absolute exhilarating experience. Something not to be missed while one is on a tour to the state.

This boat race festival has other significances too, apart from the pure entertainment it offers. These races are organized to strengthen the team spirit, integrity and harmony of the natives. The snake boats unusually is a very long boat managed by four helmsmen, 25 folk singers and about 100-125 oarsmen who row the boat in unison keeping with the fast rhythm of the vanchipattu, a musical instrument. This whole arrangement presents a heart-stealing sight and one gets mesmerized by the spirit and music floating in the air.

There are various Snake Boat Races organized during the festival. Some of them are:

Image courtesy : www.travel-ideas.makemytrip.com

Nehru Trophy Boat Race:
This is the most popular snake boat race, which is held annually on the Punnamada Backwaters of Alappuzha district on 2nd Saturday of August month every year. More than 16 snake boats or Chundans participate in the race. Women are also invited to participate in the race and separate boats are offered for women races.

Aranmula Boat Race:
It is another most famous event of Kerala, held every year, on the Pampa River near the Sree Parthasarathy Temple. It is a vital part of Onam celebrations. The snake boats are known as Palliyodams. The whole atmosphere comes alive in the cheering sounds of race lovers and encouraging songs of the folk singers.

Payippad Boat Race:
This race is also known as Payippad Jalotsavam. It is held in the memory of the installation of the deity at Haripad Subrahmanya Temple and has a very high religious significance. Snake boats during this race are referred as Chundanvalloms. It is an absolute delight for the spectators coming in from all the directions.

Some of the famous snake boats used during these races are:
  • Payippad Jalotsavam
  • Aaranmula
  • Indira Gandhi
  • Champakulam Moolam
  • Orchirakali

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