nehru trophy boat race
nehru trophy boat raceReuters

The annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race will be held on Saturday in Kerala's Punnamada Lake. While the participants are preparing for the 64th event of the famed water sport, the mood is festive in Alappuzha.

The race named after former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru marks his first visit to Kerala in 1952 and is conducted on the second Saturday of August. On the day of this fiercely fought boat race, the tranquil lake front has been transformed into a sea of humanity with an estimated two lakh people, including tourists from abroad for watching it.

For the people of nearby villages, a victory at this race for their village boat is something to be celebrated for months to come.

Apart from the rowers, a group of people sing the vanchipattu to maintain rhythm are also seated on the boats. Apart from the race of chundanvalloms (snake boats), literary and cultural events are also held in the decked-up city.

Nehru had travelled to Alappuzha on a boat and was accompanied by snake boats. Enthralled by the rhythm and coordination of the boats, he had declared the beginning of a competition, which has now become an annual affair.

The Prime Minister had sent a silver trophy after returning to Delhi. It was shaped like a snake boat.

To watch the event live, click here. The race will begin at 2:30 pm IST on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016.