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Last Updated Saturday May 27 2017 01:27 PM IST

Champakulam 'Vallamkali' kickstarts boat racing season in Kerala

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Boat race season in Kerala The snake boat. (Representational picture) Photo: Onmanorama

A splash of oars, the song of the oarsmen, and the rush of adrenalin - the backwaters of Kerala will reverberate to these sounds starting now. 

The famous Champakulam Moolam Boat race was held on Monday. This is the first of the series of boat races of the season. The boat race on the River Pamba has an interesting story. One which proclaims the spirit of the land. 

Religious harmony

Way back in AD 1545,  the Raja of Chempakaseri built a temple at Ambalapuzha. The idol which was to be installed in the temple was brought from a temple at Kurichi. Those days, the main means of transport was through the interlinking waterways and by the time they reached Champakulam, it was late. The idol and the men travelling with it were put up by a Christian family. After staying the night there, they resumed their journey next day. After the installation was over, the king was very pleased and declared that a water regatta would be held to commemorate these events. And this is a tradition that has been zealously followed till date. 

This year, eleven boats took part in the festivities. Six snake boats known locally as the Chundan Vallams took part in the race and this year's winner is the boat owned by 'Nadubhagam' boat club. Three boats belonging to 'Veppu' category and two of the 'odi' class also competed in the race. 

Thousands of people - tourists and locals included will gather on the banks of Pamba. And trust us, it is ideal you reach early - or you will have to end up climbing a tall tree to watch the show. The snake boats line up,and then at the sign men start rowing. Precision and synchronization is the key. Cheers arise from all around and then with in minutes it is all  over; leaving you asking for more. 

And more, you shall get, for this is just the start of the season. The Nehru Trophy Boat race on the Punnamada lake is on August 13. The Payippad Boat race and the Kumarakom boat races are on September 16. Aranmula boat race is on September 17.  

Block these dates.  Travel to the backwaters across Kerala, and watch the water catch fire. 

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