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Nehru Trophy Boat Race

 Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Kerala, which is renowned for its green environment and magnificent backwaters, is also the venue of one of the most popular boat races of India. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, which is organized on the second Saturday of August every year is  a major event that attracts thousands of tourists form not only India but different parts of the globe. With boats of different sizes and shapes taking competing in this annual event under different categories, the race is one of the most awaited sporting events for both the participants and the viewers.

In 2013, the 61st Nehru Trophy Boat Race is scheduled to be held on 10th August 2013.

History of the Race

The Boat Race was first organized in 1951, when the then Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was visiting the state. The event, especially the highly thrilling snake-boat race, which was held to give a warm welcome to the visiting dignitary, impressed Pandit Nehru so much that he announced a rolling trophy, which was shaped like a snake boat, for the winner. The trophy is inscribed with the words, “To the winner of the boat race which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore - Cochin", which is an indication of the popularity of the event.

About The Snake Boat Race

The snake boat race is undoubtedly the most important and popular event of the whole affair. These narrow boats known locally by the name of “Chundan Vallam” are generally more than 100 ft long and feature a raised prow. During the race, each of the participating boats carries a crew of over 110 people, which include 95 oarsmen, 4-5 controllers or amarakkars, and 15-20 cheerleaders or nilakkars. The boats are beautifully decorated with flags and silk umbrellas and trimmings. The view of these huge and magnificent boats competing against each other across the blue backwaters of the Punnamada Lake is a sight to behold.

The fact that the boat race is conducted by teams consisting of more than 100 members each itself makes the event unique. A long training and strict devotion is required by each member of the team and is vital for ensuring success in the race. Given the slim body of the snake boats, it is also quite difficult to maneuver them perfectly, which is why the controllers are required to have an in-depth information about not only the boat racing tactics but also the right way of exploiting water currents.


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