The backwaters of Kerala apart from being a major tourist
attraction are also venues for yet another splendid,
unparalleled attraction of God's Own Country - Boat Races.
The boat festivals of Kerala are one of the chief and
popular festivals of Kerala that tourist must experience
during their Kerala travel and tour. Kerala boat races are
an event that is as much part of the land's ethos and is a
sport that signifies the excellent team spirit, integration
and amity of the people.
The vibrant fiestas that bring alive the tranquil Kerala
backwaters, when 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
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.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is one of those events, which the
people of Kerala look forward to with excitement. Thousands
of Keralites - men, women and children - throng the
watersides of Alappuzha to witness the spectacle. Pavilions
are set up for spectators on the banks and in the middle of
the Punnamada Lake - the venue of the race.
The Champakulam Moolam Boat Race is the oldest and most
popular snake boat race in Kerala, and is closely connected
to the Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha. The race is held
on the Champakulam Lake on the moolam day of the Malayalam
month Midhunam, the day of the installation of the deity at
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. Kerala boat races are a must-see for
tourists on holiday in Kerala.