Snake Boat Races of Kerala
In the months of August and September that the moist rain drenched earth and the glorious ever flowing backwaters burst into song together, as over hundred thousand men and women gather on the banks to witness a spectacular water regatta- the Snake Boat Races.
Boat Race crews begin to practice for the race months before the competition day. They live together, eat together, toil together to work themselves into a smooth, co-ordinated team. On boat race day, the Chundan Valloms as the greatest racing boats are called- are called – are slicked down with a special oil to make them glide effortlessly through water. The crews then visit a shrine carrying the stroke and largest steering oar with them.
And having offered prayers to the Almighty, they are now ready to war with their fellow men.
The air crackles with excitement as the best of the 130feet Chundan Valloms, each manned by over a hundred rowers, fly through the waters at break neck speed, egged on by the fierce competitive spirit that marks the event and the spectator’s lusty roars.
Champakulam, Karichal, Jawahar Thayangari, Kallooparamban, Pulinkunnu, Nadubhagam, Cheruthana, Karuvatta Chundan, St.George, Valiyadivanchi, Alappad, Ayaparambu, Pattarachundan, Sri Ganesh, Vellamkulangara, Anari Puthenchundan and Paippad are the chief competitors for the trophies. Large and spectacular chundans glide towards the finishing line like meteors in the sky with water splashing violently on both sides like streaks of lightning. It is an unforgettable and truly special scene. The fund of energy, spirit of competition and unerring co-ordination make this sport one of the most dynamic.