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Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a popular festival of Kerala that is conducted on the Punnamda Lake, near Alappuzha, on the second Saturday of August every year. It is amongst the largest snake boat races in Kerala. People gather in large group to celebrate this occasion; boats compete against each other in the tune of old boat songs.

It was named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He used to visit this place every year. In 1952 he was so delighted by the sight so that he started donating a silver trophy as a gift for the memories of the time he spent there. Hence, the race later renames the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. The race has continued on ever since. There are over thousands of men and women gather on the bank of the river to witness a spectacular water regatta. To participate on this day, the board race crew starts preparing for their race before one month.

It's a traditional war boat of Kerala. Snake boats are 100 to 120 feet long, and hold up to 100 rowers. Each village in the region has its own snake boat, which they take great pride in. Every year the villagers gather at the bank of the river to race the boats along the lakes and rivers.

On this day, thousands of colourful boats were assembled in the river to start the event and escort the idol to the temple. It kicks off with exotic water floats, boats decorated with colourful parasols, and performing artists.

The rowers make 90-120 strokes on an average with a span of one minute. Rowers cover a distance of about 1.4km within 5mints. The snake boats are the biggest vessel in water used for the purpose of the sport.

Basically, it's a commercial event and you need to buy tickets online or after visiting the site. The tickets cost around 100 rupees for standing room on makeshift bamboo decks, up to 3,000 rupees for Gold VIP access. According to mythology, this race was done to protect the offerings from competitors from another village. The whole occasion is a celebration of the day Lord Krishna crossed the river. If you are going to explore this event you need to position yourself on the banks of the Pampa River near the temple in Aranmula to witness the breathtaking race. Traditionally dressed rowers, holding pretty parasols and assisted by large groups of singers, are cheered on by an energetic crowd.

'Champakkulam', 'Jawahar Thayangari', 'Karichal', 'Pacha', 'Pulinkunnu', 'Kallooparamban', 'Nadubhagam', 'Kandangari', 'Cheruthana', and 'Paippad' are among the chief competitors for the trophies. The fund of energy, the spirit of competition, and positive co-ordination make this sport one of the most vibrant.

History of Snake Boat Races
The war between snake boats has over 400 years of history associated with them. The story talks about the kings of Alleppey (Alappuzha) and the surrounding areas, which used to fight against each in boats along with canals.

King, who suffered heavy losses, one of them got boat architects to build him a better yacht, and the snake boat was born, with much success. To know how he created a wonderful vessel, the opposing king sent a spy behind him to know the secret behind creating a snake boat but he was unsuccessful in finding it as the expertise of the design was very hard to pick. This day board races are held with much excitement in Kerala.

Types of race
There are four main snake boat races are held each year in Alleppey.
• The Nehru Trophy is held on Alleppey's Punnamda Lake
• Champakkulam Moolam, is held along the river at Champakkulam
• The Payippad Jalotsavam is conducted on Payippad Lake
• The Aranmula Boat Race is held along the Pampa River at Aranmula

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Kerala certainly has other attractions too, but this extraordinary annual boat race is one of the best to visit during the Onam festival in August or September, particularly the Aranmula Boat Race. The culture and customs that are showcased throughout the festival are luminous. If you have been planning to visit Kerala, then the second Saturday of August is just right to scale around your trip. You can also witness many other boat races that are also held during this festival along the backwaters at Kottayam, Payippad, and Champakkulam.