Onam 2022 Boat Festival: After waiting for almost two years, finally the snake boats are out to compete against each other in the backwaters of Kerala during the Onam festival. These snake-shaped boats also known as ‘Chundan Vallam’ are up to 100-feet long and go ahead by rowing in perfect rhythm. The canoe racing competition which was started almost 400 years ago is popularly known as Vallamkali. It takes place after the first phase of the Monsoon in India. People from all over attend the event in huge numbers and celebrate in glory.
Here is a list of the main races that will take place:
Kumarakom Boat Race
Date: September 10, 2022
Location: Kumarakom, Kottayam district
Nearest railway station: Kottayam (15 km)
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport (78 km)
The Kumarakom race also knowns= as Sree Narayana Jayanthi is a canoeing competition which is held to pay tribute to social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. People celebrate the occasion and remember Sree Narayana’s visit to Kumarakom by taking his portrait in the grand procession’s country boat from Sree Kumaramangalam Temple to Kottathodu, which is the venue of the race.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Date: September 4, 2022
Location: Punnamada, Alappuzha district
Nearest railway station: Alappuzha (7 km)
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport (83 km)
Nehru Trophy boat race is one of the most prestigious boat races. Thousands of people gather on the banks of Punnamada Late to watch the boat race. As the trophy name suggests, the first race was held in 1952 when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited Alappuzha. Usually, it is held on the second Saturday of August every year, but this time it will be held on September 4.
Date: September 8 to 10, 2022
Location: Payippad, Alappuzha district
Nearest railway station: Haripad (5 km)
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport (115 km)
To pay respects to the idol at Haripad Subramanya Swamy temple, the boat competition is conducted on the Payippad river near Payippad village in the Alappuzha district. This year, the main race will be on September 10 after the Nehru Trophy race.
Aranmula Boat Race
Date: September 11, 2022
Location: Aranmula, Pathanamthitta district
Nearest railway station: Chengannur (10 km)
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport (115 km)
One of the oldest boat races takes place in Aranmula, Pathanamthitta district. The story behind the celebration is so touching. It is believed that marauders from the hills attacked the boat that set off from Kattoor Mana which was carrying the feast that was supposed to be served at the Aranmula Parthasarathy temple on the day of Thiruvonam. But, when the locals came to know about it, they chased the attackers on the snake boat and brought back the feast. Each year the same scene is recreated to celebrate the occasion.
President’s Trophy Boat Race
Date: November 26, 2022
Location: Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam
Nearest railway station: Kollam (1.5 km)
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport (67 km)
One of the biggest races that people enjoy the most is the President’s trophy race. The winner of the race gets a golden-plated trophy and ₹10 lakh as a cash prize. The race is held in November in the Ashtamudi lake in Kollam. It is the final race of the Champions Boat League that sets off with the Nehru Trophy.
Champions Boat League
This year the Champion boat league will have 12 races, which will also feature a small boat race on the Chaliyar river in the Kozhikode district.
Here is the list of Champion boat leagues:
Nehru Trophy | Punnamada, Alappuzha | September 4
Thazhathangadi, Kottayam | September 17
Pulinkunnu, Alappuzha | September 24
Piravom, Ernakulam | October 1
Marine Drive, Ernakulam | October 8
Kottappuram, Thrissur | October 15
Kainakari, Alappuzha | October 22
Karuvatta, Alappuzha | October 29
Pandanadu, Alappuzha | November 5
Kayamkulam, Alappuzha | November 12
Kallada, Kollam | November 19
President’s Trophy | Ashtamudi lake, Kollam | November 26
The snake boat racing festival is organised by Kerala Tourism to promote and conserve their culture. It started with the Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alappuzha and ends with the President’s Trophy Boat Race in Kollam.