Every year during the monsoon season, the tranquil waters of Alleppey are set to fire by biggest snake boat race in the world – The Nehru trophy boat race. About 100-200 oarsmen row 100-200 ft long snake boats to tunes of traditional boat songs in perfect harmony and synchronization.
The visual treat for the onlookers starts with pomp and pageantry of the competing boats that precedes the boat race. Nehru Trophy boat race is not just an annual boat race for the people of the watery villages of Alleppey, Kerala, it is a vital part of their culture and tradition. Winning Nehru Trophy boat race is a matter of pride and celebration for the people of Kuttanad. The charm and festivity of this fiercely fought boat race attract tourists from around the globe every year to Alleppey.
How Did Nehru Trophy Boat Race Start?
A snake boat race was organized by the people of Alleppey to give an ecstatic welcome to Pandit Jawarhal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India when he visited Kerala in 1952. He was so impressed by the overwhelming welcome and the snake boat race that he gave a rolling trophy to be awarded to the winner of the race as a token of the gift for all the good memories he had in Kerala. The trophy is a replica of snake boat made of Silver on a wooden abacus with the following words inscribed above his signature: “ To the winner of the boat-race which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore-Cochin”.
The race has continued ever since and the trophy was renamed as Nehru Trophy in 1969.
The Pomp and Pageantry
The festival begins by the snake boats and smaller varieties of boats making a formation down the 1.4km stretch of Punnamada Lake. Spectators are given a feast for the eyes with glimpses of traditional art forms of Kerala like “kathakali” “theyyam” “panchavadyam” and “padayani” and beaded umbrellas are held aloft each boat. The changing patterns as the rowers weave their oar transform the lake into a kaleidoscope.
And The Race Begins ……
The racecourse is divided into various tracks. The competing snake boats line up at the starting point. As the starter flag falls, the celebration begins. The oarsmen row their oars in perfect harmony and synchronization and the snake boats hiss their way forward rhythmically to the tunes of the traditional boat songs. The chanters and drummers on each boat sing songs and play the drums to keep up the spirit of the oarsmen. Usually, there will be about 20 snake boats with about 100-200 oarsmen in each boat rowing in sync with the tunes of the traditional folk songs of their chanters.
The entire Punnamada lake is in high spirits and becomes a battleground. More than a dazzling feast for the eyes of the spectators, Nehru Trophy race gave. No wonder, Nehru Trophy boat race is engrossing and a nail-biting from the start to the finish. The boat race has become such a global crowd puller that people from around the globe head towards Kerala to feast their eyes and spirit during this unique event every year in August
Champions Boat League
Kerala has more to offer you since this year. Owing to the increasing flow of tourists to experience this spectacular event, the Kerala tourism officials have decided to organize the Champions Boat League on the model of Indian Premier League. This year 2019, Champions Boat League will make its debut with the top participating boat race teams across 12 different districts of Kerala. The initiative aims to protect and promote traditional festivals and unique talents of our God’ own country Kerala. Why wait? Book your tickets now to Kerala to watch the speed kings of Kerala backwaters setting the waters on fire.
|1||Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Alappuzha District||31st August|
|2||Thazhathangadi, Kottayam District||07th September|
|3||Karuvatta, Alappuzha District||14th September|
|4||Piravom, Ernakulam District||28th September|
|5||Marine Drive, Ernakulam District||05th October|
|6||Kottappuram, Thrissur District||12th October|
|7||Ponnani, Malappuram District||19th October|
|8||Kainikari, Alappuzha District||26th October|
|9||Pulinkunnu, Alappuzha District||02nd November|
|10||Kayamkulam, Alappuzha District||09th November|
|11||Kallada, Kollam District||16th November|
|12||President’s Trophy Boat Race, Kollam District||23rd November|
Nehru Trophy And Champions Boat League 2019
Both 67th Nehru Trophy and first Champions Boat League were supposed to be flagged off on August 10th. But was postponed due to floods and misfortunate environmental disasters at some part of Kerala. Entire Kerala united to support the suffering with the necessary provisions and help them tackle the situation.
The new dates have been announced and both Nehru trophy Boat race and Champions Boat League 2019 are to be flagged off on August 31st 2019.
The races will be held from 2 pm to 5 pm and broadcasted live.
Nehru Trophy and Champions Boat League 2019 – Book Your Tickets Now
All are welcome to experience this cultural festival of Alleppey, Kerala. The different categories of tickets are available online and on official ticket counters. The entry is strictly prohibited without tickets for the peaceful viewing experience of the entire crowd. Tickets are usually available from the mid of July.
Where to Stay?
If you are planning a vacation to enjoy the Nehru Boat Race, you can combine it by enjoying a scenic cruise through the serene backwaters of Alleppey in a luxurious houseboat. Abad Premium houseboats are located just 1.3Km from the Nehru trophy finishing point.
Alleppey is not just about backwaters. It also houses the few pristine and beautiful beaches of Kerala. So why not enjoy a relaxing beach vacation before you head towards Punnamada lake to enjoy the speed kings of Kerala. Our resort near Marari beach can offer you a vacation soaked in serenity and tranquillity. Abad Turtle Beach resort is just 34 mins drive to Punnamada Lake where the Nehru Trophy is held.
You can also opt for our Kerala vacation package and experience Kerala. A Kerala experience is just not complete without being a part of Nehru Trophy Snake Boat race ‘celebration’. And this year you have more. The Champions Boat League. Just don’t miss it.
Check out the venues and you can find our stays near most of the venues. Have an enthralling vacation.