Kerala Boat Races Adventure Travel in India

Snake Boat Races in Kerala

As everyone waits for the monsoon, a state has already become part of the rains. Is there any guess as to which state I am talking about? It is none other than Kerala- “God’s Own Country”. Offering completely different flowing palm trees, lakes, rivers, surrounding peace and diverse aquatic life, this state will start your snakes with lots of fun, pomp and show by the “Snake Boat Race” celebration.

Take a look at the biggest and most eagerly awaited events of Kerala sports and learn more interesting things about these exciting boat races:

Kerala is the only Indian state of beaches, backwaters, lakes, houseboats, wildlife, waterfalls and waterfalls. Sneak Boat Race is the main watershed of Kerala. Boat racing is not only a sport but also a traditional celebration, unique to the religious people of Kerala India. Though originally more or less religious, the Kerala boat race was held as part of a competition or a compromise between two rival communities. Boat racing is organized throughout the year, every month and every season during the festivals of temples, which is the best time to visit Kerala as well as tourists. An interface between sports and festivities, most of the boat races are held on the Kerala backwaters. The Indian Eagle has shared some tidbit of the most popular Kerala boat races.

Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic many snake races in Kerala have been postponed or cancelled this year. Further details are given below

What’s a Snake Boat?

Do not be afraid! As there is no snake in the boat, it got this name just because of its size. A snake boat (or chundanavallam) is actually a long traditional canoe-style boat, covered by 4 sailors 100 to 120 feet long, 25 singers and 100-125 rovers, with the rapid rhythm of the venchipattu (boat song) Are lined up together with. ). Every year, every village in Kerala raced its snake boat for a special award and there is no doubt that they are very proud to participate.

History behind the Snake Boat Races

Having a history of 400 years ago, there is a famous legend about the snake boat race, according to him, the kings of Alleppey (Alappuzha) and neighboring regions are used to fight with each other in boats on the waterways. Once, the king suffered heavy losses and a boat architect was called in to make it better and a “snake boat” was born that offered success in every battle. It is also believed that an opposing king sent a spy to unravel the secret of making these boats but was unsuccessful as it was very difficult to pick up the design concept.

And then years later the “Snake Boat Race” was started by the natives as a cultural celebration, but the Rovers / Boatmen are treated with respect and there is no doubt that this is a special celebration for them.

Where the races are held?

The four main snake boat races (and as many as 15 minors) are held each year, in and around Alleppey.

The magnificent Nehru Trophy is held at Alleppey’s Punnamada Lake.
The oldest race, Champakulam Moolam, is held along the river at Champakulam (Changanassery), about 25 kilometres (15 mi) from Alleppey.
The Peliped Jalotsavam takes place on Lake Peipad, 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Alleppey.
The Aranmula Boat Race is held near Chengannur, 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Alleppey, near the Pampa River in Alemula.

When the races are held

Snake boat races are mostly held from July to September, with exact dates varying each year depending on the phase of the moon.
The exception is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, which is always held on the every year second Saturday of August. The snake boat race is the highlight of the Onam Festival in August or September, especially the Aranmula Boat Race, which takes place between 10-day celebrations.

Various other boat races are also held at Kottayam, Pippadad, and Champakulam during the festival. The Champakulam Moolah is held in late June or early July, and the Peipad Boat Race is held in late August or early September. Important dates for 2020 are listed below.

1. Champakulam Boat Race orChampakulam Moolam

Link Credit:- Kerala Picnic Spot

One of the ancient and most popular “Champakulam Moolam Boat Race” is celebrated at Sri Krishna Temple, Ambalappuzha on the glory of the installation of the idol Lord Krishna.

Where: The race is held on the river at Champakulam (Changanassery), about 25 kilometers from Alleppey.

When: Champakulam race is held on 15 July 2019

Attractions: Exotic water floats, colorful Parasols and performance artists.

2. Payippad Jalotsavam

Link Credit:

Payyppad Jalotsavam is not only the best snake boat race in Kerala, but also an attraction of Kerala tourism in South India. A grand festival for three days, in honor of the presiding deity of the Subramaniam Swamy temple, Peppippad Jalotsavam is held at Peipad Lake, 35 km from Alappuzha. According to folklore, the residents of Haripad village had dreamed that a statue of Swami Subrahmanyam was lying on the bottom of the Kayamtulam River before the temple was built. The statue was surprisingly found there and brought in a boat where the temple is located today. This Kerala Boat Race is held annually in the month of September.

3. Nehru Trophy Boat Race

 Nehru Trophy Boat Race

As the name suggests, the race met India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru when he visited Kerala in 1952, which is no doubt one of the major tourist attractions of Kerala.

Where: This race is held at the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha (Alleppey).

When: The Nehru caste is held on the second Saturday of August every year.

Attractions: The traditional 30-meter long snake boats, synchronized to the Nehru Trophy (a silver model of a snake boat) awarded to the winning team.

4. Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallam Kali

Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallam Kali

The oldest boat racing in Kerala, Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali is part of cultural extravagance during the Onam Festival in August. Kerala backwaters with the excitement and exuberance of hundreds of miscreants in Kerala, who sail boats at a breakneck pace and create a spectacular spectacle of energy and madness on the Pampa River. Dedicated to Lord Krishna and his devotee Arjuna, Vallamkali has the specialty of embellishing boats with ornamental umbrellas and flags. 25 folk singers also accompany Rovers during the racing festival. Racing boats are locally called ‘Palliodam’. Monsoon is the season of Onam Festival and Vallamkali festival, the best time to visit Kerala.

5. Aranmula Boat Race


Aranmula Boat Race is a two-day, predominantly religious occasion of Lord Krishna at Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. It is 116 km from Trivandrum.

Where: The race is held on the Pampa River at Aranmula near Chengannur, about 50 kilometers south of Alleppey.

When: The Aranmula race is held on the Middle Way through the 10-day celebrations of the Onam Festival in August / September. It will be celebrated on 15 September 2019.

Attractions: Spectacular snake boats with groups of traditionally dressed rovers and singers, grand processions, dress up as fairies and princesses flow an impressive statue of Shri Krishna

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