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Vallam Kali - Snake Boat Race in Kerala

Kerala, the enchanting land of backwaters and cultural vibrancy, hosts numerous captivating festivals and events that showcase the essence of its heritage. Among these, Vallam Kali, also known as the Snake Boat Race, stands as one of the most famous and thrilling events in Kerala. This traditional boat race is a grand celebration of unity, teamwork and the state's rich maritime history, drawing people from far and wide to witness the spectacle of gracefully synchronised boats gliding through the tranquil waters.


Why Vallam Kali - Snake Boat Race is Famous

Vallam Kali is celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm throughout Kerala, and there are several reasons why it holds such prominence:

Heritage and Tradition

The history of Vallam Kali dates back centuries, rooted in Kerala's maritime traditions and the importance of boats in the state's culture. The event has been passed down through generations, preserving the rich heritage and customs of the region.

Spectacular Boats

The Snake Boats, known as Chundan Vallams, are the centrepiece of the race. These impressive boats, often over 100 feet long, are adorned with vibrant colours and intricate carvings, showcasing the artistic craftsmanship of Kerala's boat builders.

Team Spirit

Vallam Kali embodies the spirit of unity and camaraderie. Each boat carries a team of over a hundred oarsmen who row in perfect harmony, guided by the rhythm of their boat's helmsman and the melodious boat songs that keep them motivated.

Grand Festivals

The Snake Boat Races are usually held during the festival season in Kerala, particularly during the monsoon months. The events attract huge crowds and create an electric atmosphere filled with excitement and anticipation.


How Vallam Kali is Celebrated:

The celebration of Vallam Kali, Kerala is a magnificent affair, filled with meticulous preparations and joyous festivities:

Boat Preparations

Before the races, the boats undergo extensive preparations, including polishing, painting and decorating. Each boat represents a community, and the pride and competitive spirit are evident in the meticulous care taken to present their vessel in the best possible manner.

Rowers' Training

The oarsmen undergo rigorous training months before the event. They practise synchronising their strokes and building endurance to ensure their performance is flawless on the day of the race.

Ceremonial Procession

On the day of the race, the Snake Boats are taken in a grand procession to the water body where the race will take place. The boats are accompanied by traditional music, dance and colourful pageantry.

The Thrilling Race

As the races begin, the air is filled with excitement and cheers from the spectators. The synchronised rowing of the oarsmen, set to the rhythm of the boat songs, creates a captivating sight as the boats glide through the water, neck and neck, vying for the coveted Nehru Trophy as a symbol of their prowess and pride.

Vallam Kali during Onam

One of the most significant occasions for Snake Boat Races in Kerala is during the festive season of Onam. The celebration of Onam is incomplete without the thrilling spectacle of Vallam Kali. On the day of Thiru Onam, which is the tenth day of the Onam festivities, several Snake Boat Races are held in different parts of the state.

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As the entire region rejoices in the homecoming of the benevolent King Mahabali, the Snake Boat Races add an extra layer of excitement and joy to the festivities. The oarsmen, dressed in traditional attire, row with immense fervour, reflecting the spirit of unity and celebration that Onam embodies. For those seeking to witness the electrifying spectacle of Vallam Kali 2023, Rhythm Kumarakom provides a fantastic option. Nestled amidst the serene backwaters of Kumarakom, this luxurious resort offers a front-row seat to the thrilling boat races during the Onam season.

Rhythm Kumarakom offers a unique experience with its standout features, including India's longest swimming pool in a resort, an indulgent spa and wellness centre and a captivating houseboat experience, making it a destination like no other. At Rhythm Kumarakom, guests can experience the rich culture and tradition of Vallam Kali through curated boat race excursions and interactions with local communities. Vembanad Lake also hosts the thrilling snake boat race creating an unforgettable spectacle of Kerala's traditional water sports and cultural festivities. The resort's tranquil ambience complements the adrenaline rush of the races, allowing visitors to soak in the spirit of Kerala's grand maritime heritage.

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