Make a trip to God’s Own Country, Kerala, during the Onam festival to enjoy the charm of pulsating Kerala culture and soak in kilowatts of fun. All said and done, your vacation to India will be worth remembering for years to come. Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala is celebrated every year in the month of August-September to mark the homecoming of King Mahabali. During this season of harvest and prosperity, the picturesque tranquil backwaters of Kerala bounce to life with dazzling snake boat races organized all over the state.
These snake boats are unique to Kerala’s culture and custom. They are somewhat 100 feet long traditional canoes with rear end lifted up to a height of around 20 feet. The front portions of these boats are pointed resembling the figure of a snake. The snake boat is also branded as the biggest water vessel used for water sports in India. With around 100 rowers rowing each boat and Vanchi Pattu (Boatman’s song), snake boat races draws the most vivacious and colorful scenery of Kerala dotted with local people in traditional dresses, fringing palm and coconut grooves and dazzling backwaters ever.
A very interesting story revolves around Kerala’s snake boat race. The roots of this fascinating race dates 400-year old battle fought between the kings of Alleppey on boats they used to navigate the lakes and streams of the surrounding area. After one such battle, the defeated king asked his architects to make a superior boat, and hence the Snake Boat was designed. Though these boats were used for battles, years later the locals of the area started snake boat races as a cultural celebration and game to mark the most fertile season of the year. The Pamba River near Aranmulla temple is the prime location of the races. A huge crowd of people including locals and tourists gather at the river banks to watch the event. The participants are generally locals living along the shores and nearby villages. The race distance is around 40kms beginning from hills and stretching up to lower plains. The quintessentially decorated boats sparkle like colorful gems on the crystal clear backwaters. The backwaters of Kottayam, Payippad, Champakkulam, Alleppey sparkle with the utter enthusiasm of boat races in the monsoon hit Onam season.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, which was awarded a trophy by India’s first Prime Minister Nehru, takes place at the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. The trophy, which is a replica of the snake boat in silver, is indeed a very prestigious award received by Kerala.
If you have not yet decided when to visit Kerala, then book your tickets with GeTS Holidays during the Onam festival. In one single trip to India, you will get the chance to feel the prosperity of a state, prestigious withholding of an age old tradition and enjoy the scenic beauty of God’s Own Country.