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Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Date: 13th August

In the Onam season, serene backwaters of Kerala will spring to life with a string of shimmering Nehru Trophy Boat Race. The sparkling boat race is held annually on the second Saturday of August and one of the most famous boat races all across globe. The prestigious boat race, which is organized at Punnamada Lake, breaks the silence of placid waters with its placing boats. People from far and wide bevy the banks of Punnamada Lake to enjoy this yearly water regatta.

History behind the Boat Races in Kerala

There is an interesting legend behind the origination of snake boat races. The kings of Allepey and other close by locations indulged in river scuffles to triumph each other. Charming Allepey channels play host to their river fights as they battled fiercely each other from their snake boats. One king was facing continuous failures and wanted to stop the long line of defeats. He employed some skilled boat designers and told them to design a boat to get triumph over all the competitors. All these architects used their experiences and build a superior boat for the king. With this boat, the king defeated all his rivals and this was the first time when the snake boat was crafted and the popularity of this boat crossed all the national boundaries. Every year, snake boat races in Kerala are still enjoyed by the people with same exhilaration and thrill.

Origin of Nehru Trophy Boat Race

In the year 1952, Keralites organized the Nehru Trophy Boat Race when the first prime minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru visited Alapuzzha. He witnessed the race ‘Nadubhagom Chundan’ and the oarsmen stood first. In the excitement of seeing the award winning performance of the oarsmen, the prime minister of India gave them a silvery trophy that was actually a facsimile of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus. The silver trophy also had the signature of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and the message that this boat race is one of the most unique features of Travancore - Cochin. This trophy is also known as ‘Nehru Trophy’ and now every year, this is given to the winners of this annual boat race.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Nehru Trophy Boat Race is one of the most widely regarded boat races in Kerala. It magnetizes dozens of team from several parts of Kerala who prepare for months in advance all along the backwaters network that slice parts of South India’s western coast. If a team gets victory then it brings prestige for the entire village and district as well.

The boats that are used in this boat race are by and large 36 to 42 meters in length and more than one hundred oarsmen pull a single boat through the water. The main vessel is steered by four helmsmen and an onboard group of musicians sings songs to keep the spirits high. They sing songs and act as floating cheerleaders. The event also showcases many intriguing moments like the ritual water processions, spectacular floats and bedecked boats.