The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is an annual snake boat race held in the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha, Kerala, India. It is one of the most prestigious and popular boat races in Kerala and attracts thousands of spectators from around the world. The race is held on the second Saturday of August as part of the Onam festival celebrations.
The origins of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race date back to 1952 when India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Kerala and was enthralled by a snake boat race he witnessed. To commemorate his visit, he donated a silver trophy, which came to be known as the Nehru Trophy. Since then, the trophy has been awarded to the winner of the snake boat race.
Snake boats, also known as Chundan Vallam, are traditional long wooden boats that can accommodate up to 100 rowers. These boats are elaborately decorated and have a distinct shape resembling a snake with its raised hood.
The boat race is a thrilling spectacle as teams of rowers vigorously paddle the snake boats to the rhythm of traditional songs and drum beats. The synchronized rowing and the energetic atmosphere create a captivating experience for both participants and spectators. The race has now evolved into a fiercely competitive event, with various snake boat teams from different regions of Kerala participating and vying for the coveted Nehru Trophy.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is not just a sporting event but also a celebration of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage and traditional boat racing. It showcases the strength, skill, and team spirit of the rowers, while also promoting tourism and preserving the age-old tradition of boat racing in Kerala.