Kerala Travel - House Boats, Beaches and Backwater Boating

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Snake Boats

Snake Boats or Chundan Vallams are known to outside world as Kerala snake boats. They are the icons of Kerala culture and tradition and are used for the boat races in August-September period in Kerala. These boats are about 100 to 158 ft in length, with the rear portion towering to a height of about 20 ft. and a long tapering front portion. It resembles a snake with its hood raised. It is painted in vibrant colors adding to their beauty.

The snake boats carry more than 100 people during race times. They are usually manned by four helmsmen, 25 singers and about 100 oarsmen who row the boat in accordance with 'Vanchipattu', the songs of the boatmen. This is a spectacular sight for tourists and the visitors.

Boat races are organised in many parts of Kerala. The most important among these races is Nehru Trophy boat race in Alappuzha on the second saturday of August every year. The other important snake boat races are Champakulam Moolam boat race held every year in the month of July, Aranmula Boat Race during the festival of Onam, Payippad Boat Race, Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race, Pulinkunnu, Kumarakom Boat Race and the Indira Gandhi Boat Race in Cochin.

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