Monday, March 29, 2010

Snake Boat Racing in India

Boat Racing is another indigenous sport of India, popular in States such as Kerala and Assam. In Kuttanadu, Kerala, snake boat racing is a cult sport where snake boats are the pride of every village. With its charming backwaters and canals, Kerala is known as the Venice of the East. Each snake boat is around 30 metres in length and can seat about a hundred people. The months of August and September are the best for snake boat racing in India. During these months, we witness a festival like atmosphere, with nearly 20 minor and major regattas being held in the State.

The Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race, which is held on the Punnamda Lake, near Alappuzha, is the most popular of the regattas. It is the number one snake boat racing in India event. This race is held on the second Saturday of August every year and is watched live by an estimated two lakh spectators. Other boat races in Kerala are the Uthrithathi boat race on the Pampa River, Champakulam Moolam Vallamkali Race, Neerettupuram Boat Race, Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race and Pulimkunnu Karuvatta Boat Race.

In Assam, the local people look forward to their annual boat racing festivals just as much as in Kerala. Boat races are often organized by local units during festive occasions at places like Hajo, Saulkuchi, Barpeta, Guwahati and so on. People taking part in these boat races need lengthy training, stamina and an inherent aptitude. The captain of the boat racing team, who is responsible for steering the boat, needs systematic knowledge of water currents, keen observation power and expertise about other aspects of boat racing.

If you are interested in snake boat racing in India, make sure you fly down to the state of Kerala in the monsoon months of August and September when the rivers are full. You'll be in for a real treat!!

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