Boat Races Are Quite Popular In God's Own Country


Backwaters and boat races are the central nerves of Kerala – a well-known tourist destination, also known as God’s own country. Why boat races are so popular in Kerala? Why they form an integral part of Onam celebrations, the state festival of Kerala which indicates the unity and harmony of Keralites despite belonging to different religions? Through this short article, I would like to throw some light on these two questions.


Kerala – the land of 44 rivers


The first answer lies in the splendid availability of water bodies across Kerala. There are 44 rivers flowing through the small stage of Kerala and most of them are connected to seas through lagoons. These junctions abundant in sea resources give a better platform for boats to conduct races, soon after monsoon. Normally June to mid-August season witness heavy monsoon in Kerala and with the dawn of Chingam (New year) and Onam celebrations in the mid-August, backwaters will be flooded and as rainy season has gone, it’s the best time for boat races. That’s why boat races are related to Onam celebrations. Also people belonging to all castes and religions equally participate in this celebration.


Boat races begin with Champakulam Moolam boat race


Though Nehru Trophy boat race conducted at Vembanad lake shore, Kuttanad, Alappuzha is most popular, the season begins with Champakulam Moolam boat race. Nehru Trophy boat race was inaugurated in 1952 by none other than the honorable Prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and that’s why Nehru trophy achieved immense popularity. Vembanad lake is the longest lake of India, where this race is conducted. Neerettupuram boat race, Champakulam Moolam boat race, Aaranmula Uthrattathi vallamkali and Kumarakom Chathayam boat race are some of the popular boat races conducted on the backwaters of Kerala.


A few facts related to Kerala boat races


  • The lengthiest boat race is conducted in Payippaatt.
  • The oldest of all boat races began at Aramulla and as it is conducted on Uthrattathi star of the month of Chingam, it’s known as Aaranmula Uthrattathi vallamkali.
  • Most of the boat races are related to temples, culture and religious beliefs.
  • Kumarakom Chathayam boat race is conducted on Narayana Guru jayanthi. Chathayam in the month of Chingam is the birthday of Narayana Guru.
  • Chundan Vallam, Kettu Vallam, Churulan Vallam and Odi vellam are different types of boats used for boat race, which is called Vallam kali in Malayalam language. The lengthy Chundan Vallam is most popular among all for such races.
Article Posted By : Sandhya RanilView All Articles

Despite being a Keralite, I have never seen boat races

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Keywords :
Kerala boat races , Onam celebrations


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