With the harvest festival Onam round around the corner, Kerala is gearing up for the 63rd Nehru Trophy Boat Race (Vallamkali), which will take place on Saturday, 8 August.
The popular snake boat race, which is a major tourism attraction, is conducted on the second Saturday of August every year in the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha, the Venice of the East.
As many as 16 teams will participate in the race this year. The chief guests for this year's event include Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and Chinese Ambassador Le Yucheng, among others.
More about Nehru Trophy Boat Race
During his visit to Kerala in 1952, the first Indian prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was said to have been thrilled about his travel from Kottayam to Alappuzha by boat and a boat race held during his visit. On his return to New Delhi, Nehru donated the ever rolling trophy, which is the replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus, to the winners of the impromptu boat race conducted at the time of his visit. Later, the famous boat race was named after Nehru.
"Panditji, who was thrilled and excited in the performance of the oarsmen, jumped into the Nadubhagam Chundan, forgetting all security arrangements. The boat proceeded to the boat jetty carrying the Prime Minister," according to the official website nehrutrophy.
The boat race event will see the competition of Chundan Vallams (snake boats), measuring 120 feet to 140 feet in length carrying more than 110 oarsmen.
The event will be attended by more than two lakh people, including foreigners. The boat race also marks the beginning of the tourism season in the South Indian state.
Watch the video of previous year's Nehru Trophy Boat Race below: