The Aaranmula Boat Race is staged each year in the scenic
village of Aaranmula in August/ September. This river carnival
is part of the Aaranmula Temple festival. Masses throng the
shores of the River Pamba to watch an imposing cluster of
snake boats called 'Palliyodams'.
Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallomkali is conducted in the Pamba
River in front of Sri Parthasarathi Temple. Though, large
snake boats take part in this festival they do not race with
each other. Instead, they row in union, to the accompaniment
of songs and reach their destination together because Lord
Krishna is believed to be present in each boat. Since 1971
this procession has taken the present form of a race conducted
by the Palliyoda Seva Sangh.
Each boat, nearly 100 feet long, is a remarkable feat of
craftsmanship, with the stem curved to resemble the hood of a
snake and a tampering bow. Festooned with silk and gold
spangled umbrellas, the boats are manned by a crew of more
than 100 men.
Trophy Boat Race, the annual water carnival at Punnamada Lake
in Alappuzha is considered as the biggest snake boat race in
the world. The colourful boat pageantry, which precedes the
boat race, is a marvelous treat to the onlookers. The snake
boats with 100 to 120 oarsmen plough the waters to the tune of
the legendary songs. Jawaharlal Nehru who was enthralled by
the charm and gaiety of the water carnival instituted the
Nehru Trophy. This boat race attracts a large number of
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most famous of the boat races of
Kerala. This annual regatta is held on the Punnamada
Backwaters of Alappuzha district on the second Saturday of
The event is a commemoration of the visit to this place by the
late Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1952.
The spectacular races features magnificent snake boats or 'Chundans'.
The boisterous and rhythmic boat songs or Vanchipattu work the
spectators to a state of frenzy.
Onam is a time for sports and
festivities and in Kerala where one third of the area is low
lying, covered with canals, lakes and backwaters; the people
comes out with their boats and country crafts to celebrate.
It is one of the greatest festivals of Kerala, which is
celebrated unitedly without the difference of caste and
is related with King Mahabali, a past ruler of Kerala, who
was very nice and trueful. During his ruling time it is said
that people don't even locked their house because , there
was no thieves, no corruption, no betrayal. All facing a
good time. At that time the Hindu lord Mahavishnu decided to
test King Mahabali. He came to earth as vamana a poor dwarf,
and went straight to King Mahabali, asking three feet of
land to live as he had nothing. The king hearing this
laughed and told Vamana to take three feet of land from
where ever he wishes. Suddenly Vamana began to grow and he
covered the whole earth by one foot and covered the sky with
other foot. And asked Mahabali where is the space for the
third foot. By seeing all these, the king understood that
Vamana is not an ordinary person, and Vamana has come to
test him so the king without hesitating showed his head to
keep the third foot. Vamana kept his third foot on the
King's head and the King was pushed down under the earth.
The king after going under the earth, asked Vamana his true
identity, Suddenly Vamana vanished and Lord Mahavishnu stood
before Mahabali. The lord told Mahabali that he wanted to
test Mahabali and he has won in that. The lord also asked
Mahabali to ask any boon for himself. Mahabali told the lord
that, he loved his people very much so he wanted permission
to visit Kerala once in a year. And the lord gave permission
for that. It is that day i.e, the day Mahabali visits kerala
is celebrated as Onam.
Onam is celebrated when it's time to reap the harvest and is
a celebration of ten days. People put flower mats in front
of their houses, to welcome the King. Keralites all over the
world will be celebrating these ten days with pomp and
gaiety. They wear new dresses and visit almost all temples
which they can.