vaLLam kaLi (58th Snake Boat Race), Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kerala, 140810
KM had been wanting to see the “Vallam Kali” (Boat Play…the Alleppey, or Alappuzha, Boat Race) in Kerala, for many years, and made all the bookings before springing a surprise on me that I was glad to go along with!
We took the overnight train to Alappuzha, and in the town, everywhere, were the arches announcing the race:
There are many boat races in Kerala, but I think this seems to be the most “famous” one (and definitely trying to be announced as a national event!)…here’s a photo I like from the day of the race…
….because it is the beautifully decorated part of one of the women’s boats!
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The day previous to the race was a rest day, but on the 12th, we watched from our rented houseboat, as contestants practised on various parts of the backwaters. It was just amazing to see 120 people in one boat!
Imagine how hard the wood must be, not to bend into the water under the weight of so many people! We were told that the same boats are used year after year, too. Here is one Chundan (Snake Boat) with a smaller boat in front of it, with people timing the effort:
The intense effort of rowing shows:
Here is one of the women’s boats, practising:
I wonder if this boat (on the race day) ever got their contestants above water level, or whether their chances were sunk along with the boat! All I could see was the sight of their heads, still sitting in a disciplined row on a boat that was under water!
Some of the uniforms really added eye appeal!
A lot of practising was going on:
I found that many of the boat race contestants constantly wet themselves and other team-mates with the water from the canal:
Here’s a close up of one participant:
And here, the cox of the boat was speaking intensely into his mobile, no doubt going over last-minute manouvres…
The crowd was huge, and instead of the monsoon rain, it was the sun that brought out a lot of umbrellas!
The snake boats collected in front of the pavilion where Pratibha Patil, our President, was:
Here are the snake boats, collecting together in front of the President:
I got a shot of the President speaking:
Here’s one nail-biting finish …I couldn’t make out which boat had won!
While the races went on, we also saw various other attractions, such as this Navy helicopter dropping and picking up a frogman:
Here’s the frogman in the water:
There was this boat on which various KathakaLi characters danced, in a cultural show:
Here are some of the artistes, dancing:
I got this table of results from the internet:
Jawahar Thayankari of Town Boat Club, Kumarakom won the 58th Nehru Trophy Boat Race
First Place : Jawahar Thayankari ( Town Boat Club, Kumarakom)
Second Place : Payippadan (UBC, Kainakari)
Third Place : Sri Ganeshan (Karumadikuttan Boat Club, Kavalam)
Fourth Place : Pattara (Kumarakom Boat Club, Kumarakom)
First Place : Velangadan (Neelima Vidyabhavan Alleppy)
Second Place : KurupuParamban (Universal College Kainakari)
Third Place : Kodimata
Fourth Place : Vengel Puthenveedu
Iruttukuthi B grade
First Place : St. Sebastian
Second Place : Sree Guruvayoorappan
Third Place : Jalarani
Nehru Trophy Boat Race was on the August 14th Saturday , in Punnamada Lake in Alleppey, Kerala, which was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil.This is the most popular boat race in Kerala and attracted a lots of tourists from different parts of India and abroad. Sixty boats, 19 of them snake boats, would participated in the most colorful water sport in Kerala, on Punnamada lake. Sixteen snake boats participated in the knockout heats while three took part in an exhibition race.
For many more photographs, see my
I warn you….do not expect artistic pictures, I used only my trusty MLC!
My closing image is of the decoration on the prow of this boat…. and as for the number, it is the number of the race “track”…but the intention for every boat participating was the same…to be Number One!