Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

The backwaters and rivers of Kerala were the scene of vallam kali (vallam means boat and kali means play) since ancient times. They attain festive proportions during Onam season, the harvest festival of Kerala.

One of the most famous boat races of Kerala, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held on the Punnamada backwaters of Alappuzha district. It was Jawaharlal Nehru the then prime minister of India who was the chief guest at the first competitive race in 1952. Ever since that event, the winner’s trophy came to be known as Jawaharlal Nehru Trophy. The race is held on the second Saturday of August. These races feature magnificent snake boats or chundans. The rhythmic and the synchronized way of rowing the majestic snake boats is a sight to behold. Held on the second Saturday of August every year, it is by far the most popular of all boat races in the world.

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