Alappuzha: Kerala's most favourite boat race for the Nehru Trophy commenced today in the Punnamada Lake, Alappuzha, after the devastating flood of August forced a nearly three-month-long wait.
Despite the postponement and the consequent cash crunch, the regatta, reputed as the festival of snake boats, will see a record 81 boats competing, of which 25 are snake boats.
The race will be streamed live on Doordarshan, Google and Emirates flights. Organisers expect a race without much of a dispute as modern starting and finishing systems have been set up.
Small boats contested in the morning, at 11 am. The snake boat heats and the finals for all categories shall compete in the afternoon.
Stringent security measures are in place at Punnamada and Alappuzha. Viewers will not be allowed to re-enter the venue if they decide to leave mid-event.
State Governor Justice P Sadasivam inaugurated the boat race at 2 pm. Among chief guests are Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, Telugu superstar Allu Arjun, his wife Sneha Reddy and starts from Kerala Blasters. State ministers from the district, Thomas Isaac, G Sudhakaran and P Thilothaman will also attend.
The regatta is staged normally on the second Saturday of August.