Some Facts about the Kerala Boat Race

The boat race has been a part of the Kerala culture since many decades. The boat race or the Vallam Kali is main part of the Onam Festival. You can even witness the Nehru Trophy in this time of the year. Here are some more intriguing and interesting facts about the Boat Race of Kerala.

Origin of the Tradition:

The initial origin of the boat race dates back to 300 BC where boat race was held on New Year’s eve. Boat race was very common in different states of India in the ancient times. Paddled canoes race with each other in the Vallam Kali.

Kerala Boat Race

Kerala Boat Race | Image Resource:

The Boats in The Boat Race:

Different types of canoes participate in the boat race. The construction of the boat varies. The most popular canoes are the Chundan Vallams or the Snake Boats. These boats were designed in a particular fashion by the great craftsmen during the war between kings of Chembakassery and Kayamkulam. The design of Chundan Vallam is 650 years old.

The Vanchipattu:

Vanchipattu is a special group of Malayalam songs sung by the boatmen during the race. They are unique and hold a special place in the Kerala tradition. They are even featured in several local movies.

Boat Race: A Major Tourist Attraction:

In the recent past, different aspects of the Kerala culture are gaining a lot of popularity. The boat race of Kerala attracts a lot of tourists. Boat race are a part of major festivals of Kerala. There are separate boat races held to attract tourists. It is a marvel to hear that Keralites outside India have also arranged a separate Nehru Trophy in Canada.

Boat Race in Art:

Boat race is symbolic of Kerala and you can find portrayal of boat race in art and crafts. You will also see boat race as a part of various Kerala tourism advertisements.

I believe that this unique sport needs to be given attention. One must not let this tradition dwindle with time. One must not let his traditions get extinct with the passing years.


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