Witness the Magical Boat Race in the Backwater of Alleppey
Fondly known as the ‘Venice of the East,’ Alleppey, officially known as Alappuzha is a picture-perfect town in Kerala. Located on the banks of the turquoise Vembanad Lake, this picturesque town is popular worldwide for its enchanting backwater, azure lakes, lush green coconut grooves, and an intricate network of canals and other natural bounties. Whether you are a nature lover, or seeking to escape the routine, and searching for a romantic destination or planning a leisurely trip with family, Alleppey could be the perfect destination.
While you can visit Alleppey anytime of the year, the best time is during the monsoon between August and September. It is the perfect time to witness one of the most spectacular sights you may have seen anywhere in the world, the Snake Boat Race. The race sets the Kerala backwater on fire, and presents a sight that is a treat to the eyes.
If you have been longing to see the boat race, Alleppey is the best place as it plays host to the most premier snake boat race in the state, The Nehru Trophy.
The Nehru Trophy is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It is usually held on the second Saturday of August, on the calm waters of Lake Punnamada in the Alappuzha district. However, in 2022, the race is rescheduled to September 4th.
The boat race is an integral part of Onam celebration, the biggest festival in Kerala. During the monsoon, as the rain washes the whole of Kerala in million shades of green, the overflowing backwaters come alive as thousands of locals and tourists from all over the world gather on the banks of the lake to witness the water regatta – snake boat race, which is known as Vallam Kali in the local Malayalam language.
During the festival, the snake boats, which the oarsmen, and the locals call Chundan Vallam, are beautifully decorated with silk parasols and flags. These boats are about 100-130 ft long, and each boat sits about 110-120 oarsmen. These boats were originally used as war boats, and every village has one Chundan Vallam, which they use in race and represent their village.
For the locals, and especially the men who participate in the race, they have a huge sentiment attached to their boat, and they worship it as a deity. For the men who ride the boat, it is a matter of great pride and honour for them.
As the race begins, the oarsmen try to row the boat as fast as they can. And, to keep the spirits of the oarsmen high, and to motivate them to put in their best efforts, each boat has 10 nilakkars or cheerleaders who burst into energetic songs. These songs have mythological and religious significance.
The practice and the preparation for the race begins much earlier before the big day. The crew live together, eat together and toil together to ensure that each and every person on the boat works together in a coordinated manner.
Alleppey is a popular tourist town in Kerala. There are many accommodation options in the city; from cheap hotels to hostels and resorts. But, if you are travelling with your family, you can book your stay at the Club Mahindra Arookutty resort. It is the best resort in Arookutty town.
Instead of staying in small rooms, you can live comfortably, and enjoy a range of premium amenities that would make you feel like you are home away from home. With a beautiful natural landscape around, it is the perfect base to enjoy the charming culture of Kerala, the awesome natural sights, and of course the snake boat race.
The Arookutty resort in Alleppey by Club Mahindra has a reputation for offering the guests many unique experiences that makes your stay an enriching experience. Each moment you spend here, you would love it. You can go on a kayaking expedition in the nearby lake, or enjoy a relaxing ayurvedic massage at the in-house spa. After a long day of sightseeing, you can come back and enjoy a beautiful romantic candlelight dinner with your loved one and gorge on the delectable Kerala-style meal.
Alleppey is truly a magical place, and the sight of boat race is something that you will not forget for a lifetime, it would surely be one of the best travel experiences.