The most famous boat race of Kerala, the world-renowned
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held at Punnamada
Lake in Alappuzha on the second Saturday of August every year. The
highlights of these spectacular races are magnificent snake boats
or Chundanvallams and its boisterous and rhythmic boat songs known
as Vanchipattu. Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the biggest and the most
famous event. This year the event falls on 9th August 2003. The
first race was an impromptu one conducted in 1952 in honor of Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru who visited Alappuzha. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
was so thrilled and excited by the event that on his return to Delhi
in December that year, he donated a silver trophy, which is a replica
of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus bearing the following
inscription above his signature - 'To the winners of the boat race
which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore - Cochin.'
This trophy later came to be known as
Nehru Trophy, and now the Nehru Trophy
Boat Race is held every year to commemorate his visit
to the place. The boat clubs and the boat race lovers spend lakhs
of rupees for making this performance even more interesting and
to win the trophy is considered a matter of pride and prestige.
18 snake boats will take part in the race this year and the 1370
meters long racecourse is divided into various tracks in such a
manner that as the boats advance through these tracks, they appear
like the fast moving snakes.