31st August 2019 would witness the 67th edition of the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race. This event is a tribute to the wonderful tradition of snake boat races in Kerala and is usually held on every second Saturday in the month of August. This year, the race is taking place on the last day of the month but gains greater importance due to it being part of Champions Boat League (CBL)
The sight of Chundan Valloms, as the traditional snake boats are called, racing against each other is a sight that is fondly associated with the beautiful state of Kerala. According to official accounts, when the first Prime Minister of the country, Jawahar Lal Nehru, visited the state in 1952, he got to witness this sight and was greatly impressed by it.
He gifted a trophy in the shape of a snake boat, made of silver, and since then, this event has come to be known as Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
This year's edition
The 67th edition of the event will be held at the usual venue of Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. The person to flag off the race would be Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan. But he won't be the only famous personality present on the occasion. Legendary former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar would accompany him on the occasion.
The date chosen for the event this year was originally 10th August but due to floods that affected the state, it had to be postponed. Still, the organisers have managed to schedule the event in the month of August.
This year's festival would feature 79 boats in total. But the main race would have 20 snake boats out of which nine would represent teams of CBL.
Where and how to watch
The main race will be flagged off at 2 PM. The organisers have made various arrangements for the occasion to become a brilliant visual spectacle. Tickets for the event are available through South Indian Bank and Bookmyshow.com.
The live telecast of the race would be provided by DD Sports, DD Bharati and DD Malayalam from 2 PM onwards.
The overall event will include several races including heats and the main event. There will be six Chundan heats to kick off the festival followed by an exhibition race. The races have been divided into several categories. Needless to say, it will be an exciting day and would enthral all the spectators, be they watching on TV or from the banks.