Our Snake Boat Race


We have taken a short break from blogging during the monsoon, our off-season time. What better day to resume than on the Annual Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race day. It’s a great day in Alleppey!

p snake

The Snake Boat Race on the backwaters.  One of the great highlights of our year.

It’s said that this sport that has the highest number of members in a single team ever. So we always expect upwards of 100 men (and in recent years there have been some all-females teams too) rowing in unison to the rhythm of the boatman’s chants.
In recent years women have competed too. C’mon, the girls!
Steeped in the history of Kerala these boats were crafted originally by a Maharajah who was fighting from his boat in the canals of Alleppey. When he lost his battle he had a secret new boat design crafted for him.
India’s sacred texts were brought to bear and so gleaming historical information from the Sihapathya Veda the Snake Boat was born. To this day the construction remains over 100 feet long with the rear end rising up to a spectacular 20 feet.
The front of the boat then tapers to resemble a snake with its hood raised. Hence Snake boat.
When Jawaharlal Nehru visited Alleppey in 1952 he was so taken with the spectacle that he donated a trophy – hence this major event is known as the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race.

p snake boat men


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