Nehru Trophy Boat Race
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, in Alappuzha, Kerala, is conducted on Punnamada Lake on the second Saturday of every August. It is one of the most famous snake boat races in Kerala. The rolling trophy was instituted by the late Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who visited Alappuzha in 1952. It was awarded to the winners of the first boat race at which he was present.
The trophy is a replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus. The trophy bears the following inscription above his signature.
“To the winners of the boat race which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore Cochin."
It is the most competitive and popular of the boat races. On the day of this boat race, a great sea of humanity (an estimated two lakh people), including tourists, descend on the shores of the lake, to watch the event. Each village in Kuttanad might have a boat participating in the event, and a victory at this race for their village boat is a matter of great price and celebration.
The major attraction of the boat race is the competition of snake boats chundanvallams or snake boats. Chundans (snake boats) are an impressive sight, measuring over 100 feet in length, with a raised prow.