Kerala's Boat Races: Oarsmanship at Its Best

21 Aug 2023

Among the many attractions that draw travelers to Kerala, the picturesque state, the traditional boat races stand out as an unparalleled spectacle of oarsmanship and fervor. These boat races are an integral part of Kerala's cultural heritage, showcasing the spirit and unity of its people. For tourists seeking an authentic experience of Kerala's rich cultural traditions, by including the adrenaline-pumping boat races, various Kerala tour packages offer an opportunity of a lifetime.

The Magnificent Snake Boat Races

The iconic Snake Boat Races, also known as "Vallamkali," are the most famous and celebrated boat races in Kerala. These majestic boats, called Chundan Vallams, are over 100 feet long and are manned by around a hundred oarsmen. The synchronized rowing, rhythmic chanting, and pulsating drums create an electrifying atmosphere that captivates spectators from around the world.

Visitors to Kerala can witness the grandeur of Snake Boat Races during the harvest festival of Onam, which usually falls in August or September. Numerous Kerala tour packages are tailored to include this enthralling spectacle in their itineraries, ensuring tourists get a front-row seat to experience the thrill of these fiercely competitive races.

The Enigmatic Nehru Trophy Boat Race

One of the most prestigious boat races in Kerala is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held annually on the second Saturday of August. This race is named in honor of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was enamored by the sport during his visit to Kerala in 1952. The event takes place at the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha, where oarsmen from different villages compete with utmost determination for the coveted Nehru Trophy.

Tourists can witness the Nehru Trophy Boat Race as part of several Kerala tour packages that specifically highlight the essence of Kerala's water-based traditions. The race showcases not only the incredible oarsmanship but also the unyielding spirit of unity and camaraderie among the teams.

The Thrilling Aranmula Boat Race

The Aranmula Boat Race is a unique spectacle, deeply rooted in mythology and spirituality. Held during the harvest festival of Onam, this race takes place at the Pamba River near the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Unlike the Snake Boat Races, the boats used in Aranmula races are smaller, called "Palliyodams," but they still create an exhilarating display of rowing prowess.

Tourists can experience the charm of the Aranmula Boat Race through specially curated Kerala tour packages that incorporate visits to the serene and spiritually significant village of Aranmula.

The Mesmerizing Champakulam Moolam Boat Race

The Champakulam Moolam Boat Race is another highlight of Kerala's boat racing season. Celebrated during the Moolam asterism of the Malayalam month of Midhunam, this race commemorates the reconstruction of the Sree Krishna Temple in Champakulam. The race takes place on the Pamba River and attracts thousands of spectators.

For travelers looking to immerse themselves in Kerala's culture and witness the Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, several Kerala tour packages include this thrilling event in their itineraries, offering a glimpse into the vibrant traditions of the state.

Embracing Kerala's Boat Races through Tour Packages

To make the most of their visit to Kerala and witness these awe-inspiring boat races, tourists are encouraged to choose from a wide range of Kerala tour packages. These packages not only include the boat races but also encompass other attractions, such as the backwaters, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, and cultural experiences, ensuring a well-rounded and memorable journey.


Kerala's boat races stand as a testament to the state's vibrant culture, unity, and exceptional oarsmanship. For travelers seeking an unforgettable experience, witnessing these grand spectacles should be at the top of their bucket list. Kerala tour packages offer the perfect opportunity to witness these boat races while also exploring the beauty and uniqueness of "God's Own Country." So, come, embrace the fervor, and create lasting memories in the heart of Kerala's enchanting traditions.

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