The land of backwaters, Kerala has been known to be the home for various water sports. Boat races are one of the most popular water sports here. Amidst the backwaters dotted by swaying palm trees, the massive boats are rowed by hundreds of people. The boat races are organised by a number of religious and social organisations. The boat races held in Kerala are also the largest team sports in the world. People from different districts participate in the races which are held annually. Visit Kerala during the festive season such as Onam to enjoy the grand races. The races take places at different places in the state.

Every boat race has its own story of inception along with mythology and various tales. If you go by the historical sources, these races were held to settle disputes between chiefs and kings. The snake boat races date back to four hundred years and were used as a means to fight wars by Kuttanadu Kings. The races are titles as Snake Boat Races owing to the atypical canoe shape of the boat.

Here are some of the most popular boat races in Kerala:

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

This race is held in the memory of former Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Number of tourists and locals visit the Punnamada Lake in Alleppey to view the race. It takes place in the second week of August. This year it will be held on 13th August.

Champakkulam Moolam Boat Race

This race marks the religious day when the idol of Krishna was mounted in the Krishna temple in the Ambalapuzzha region. Before the onset of the race, group of artists perform in colourful boats in honour of Lord Krishna. Champakkulam is one of the oldest Boat Races in Kerala. This year, the race was held at the Champakkulam Lake on 20th June, 2016.

Aranmula Vallamkali Boat Race

The race is held during the Onam festival with around 26 boats which grace the waters. The boats are decorated beautifully in silk cloths to mark the occasion. Tourists from within the country as well as outside come to witness the races. The race is will be held at the Pampa River on 18th September, 2016.

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