Nehru Trophy Boat Race is annually held at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. One of the major boat races in Kerala, it is attended by about two hundred thousand people.
More than a race, it is the water festival of Kuttanad, the paddy belt famous for its backwaters.
The villages of this region fiercely compete with one another to win the race.
Winning the race is a matter of great pride to the villagers.They even call it the water Olympics of Kuttanad.
There are different categories of races that involve different types of boats. The main item, though, is the snake boat race.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race has been held for the last sixty plus years. Nehru, India’s Prime Minister visited Alappuzha in 1952. The people of Kuttanad organised a grand reception in the form of an exciting water show where native boats competed to win the title. Nehru was very impressed. No one could stop him from jumping to a snake boat and riding with them.
Up on returning to Delhi, Nehru sent a trophy, a snake boat replica in silver. From the next year, Nehru Trophy Vallamkali (boat race) has been conducted annually.
Tickets for the boat race can be purchased through authorised outlets. The tourism office has a ticket counter as well. The bamboo gallery tickets cost about one dollar, while the VIP passes sell for about $25.
It is necessary to reach Alappuzha by 9 A.M. After purchasing ticket, you need to reach the designated boat jetty from where boats depart for the event area.
Carry food and water with you. The pavilion is a no smoking area. Alcohol consumption is also not permitted.
Also carry an umbrella since it can rain any time.